Tv Party Tonight! #37

Tv Party Tonight! #37

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017
DVD/Blu-Ray

The Beguiled [blu-ray]

 

Why did it take me so long to watch the Beguiled? I was keenly aware of it (as I am with most projects involving Kirsten Dunst), it had a decent run in theatres, garnered good reviews, and even played at my local arthouse theatre. So, what happened? I can’t really say. I seem to have prioritized Alien Covenant and Baby Driver as my giant-theatre experiences and before I knew it, the Beguiled was gone.

 

Quite a pity, especially now that I have seen it. I can only imagine how great it would have looked on the big screen.The Beguiled has such a simple and engaging plot that it’s easy to forget what a gorgeous period piece it is.

 

When union soldier John McBurney is found wounded by one of the schoolgirls in a Virginia girl’s school, the inhabitants of this school become instantly intrigued by this charming and handsome man. When McBurney realizes this, he must play his cards well in order to save himself and avoid going back to the war. The results are compelling, funny, shocking and suspenseful. As McBurney bites off a little more than he can chew, the story takes an unexpected turn for better or worse, depending how you look at it. Case in point, my wife and I wanted to maybe watch the first half of the movie before going to bed and happily decided to finish the movie instead. The buildup is slow and pays off for the patient viewer.

 

There is no doubt that this movie is probably better directed that it is written as some of the characters are a little underdeveloped and the girls school feels a little overpopulated at times. But then again, the shots, costumes, and sets are absolutely gorgeous and serve to charm the viewer as much as the characters in this film.

 

Who knows why the Beguiled left theatres as soon as it did. It’s a subtle gem of a movie, gorgeous, tremendously acted, and one of the best films of the year.

 

Notes:

  • Dunst’s character Edwina was supposed to be a slave in the original source material. When you realize this, all of her actions and motivations become much more clear.
  • It takes a period piece to truly make one realize what constituted flirting in Virginia in the 1800s. This includes shoulders and slutty brooches, apparently.
  • Unfortunately this release is a little lacking in bonus features as we just get two short features on the actors’ experiences on set and production of the set and costumes. Such a beautiful movie is bound to benefit from a Criterion release

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