Movie Review: ‘The Word’ delivered by reviewer Barking J. Hownd.
‘Tulip Fever’ screened at the Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas as part of the British Film Festival 2017. Films from the British Isles.
This movie directed by Justin Chadwick based on the novel of the same name by Deborah Moggach.
Set in the 17th century in religiously tolerant, mostly Protestant, northern Netherlands. Here the people believed in God. Their faith kept strong by the visible evidence of his existence. He was ever present in the natural world. This was His work. The appearance of rare gifts in His garden was Man’s time for reverence.
The pictures from this time and place are painted with verisimilitude to nature. The painters recorded what they saw. Their pictures are naturalistic, truthful not idealistic. These painters and their work were highly regarded across Europe at this time.
In this story old childless Cornelius is a wealthy merchant trader. He takes young Sophia for his wife. He needs an heir. Sophia and a young painter secretly become lovers. Sophia with her unwed mother to be, servant girl, plan a deception. They are successful and Sophia joins her lover.
All of the characters (except Cornelius) need money. They try buying and selling tulips to make money, but are unsuccessful. The combined result of these events has consequences for all.
‘Tulip Fever’ is an allegorical morality tale full of religious symbolism. Love, death, resurrection, sin, guilt, redemption and forgiveness. Temptation is everywhere and comes in many guises.
Visually there are references to paintings from the 17th century. The painters Rubens, Van Dyke, Vermeer, Steen, Van Ruisdael, Kalf, Snyders and others are acknowledged.
Screenwriter and playwright Tom Stoppard is influenced by Shakespeare in his adaption of the novel for the screen. Disappointingly, the actors are unconvincing as characters and their lines are unmemorable. It is unlikely ‘Tulip Fever’ will be highly contagious. Don’t catch this fever. Listen to singer, Peggy Lee, her ‘Fever’ is memorable.
‘The Word’ delivered by reviewer Barking J. Hownd.