A disfigured English-speaking man (Ralph Fiennes) is being cared for by a nurse (Juliette Binoche) in Italy during World War 2. Whilst being moved his condition worsens, so she cares for him in the ruins of a monastery where they are joined by some bomb disposal technicians (Naveen Andrews and Kevin Whately) and a thumb-less Canadian (Willem Dafoe). All the while the man struggles to remember who he is, recalling his past sharing an affair with a British woman (Kristen Scott Thomas) married to one of the man’s colleagues (Colin Firth). Continue reading →
That’s right, some weeks I don’t go to the cinema or watch a new DVD release, I’ve got a fairly large and ever-increasing stack of non-List DVDs I either haven’t seen before or haven’t really watched properly (I have films on in the background a lot, especially when I was at university) and this regular feature gives me some motivation to get through them.
Just in time for Easter, and after a messy, sticky but god damn delicious bout of chocolate egg making, we sat down to watch Chocolat, a film that’s been on my radar ever since it was discussed with much vigour in the disappointing Paul Rudd vehicle I Love You, Man, as his character’s favourite film. Just like when I rushed out to watch Point Break on Danny Butterman’s recommendation (I’ve been known to enjoy Bad Boys 2) I was more than a little disappointed, as I went in with higher hopes than I probably should.
Chocolat sees Juliette Binoche’s master chocolatier opening up a cocoa boutique in a sleepy little French village, just at the start of lent. The villagers initially shun her temptations, before gradually growing to accept them and their delicious ways, assisted by her worldly knowledge, kind soul and the fact that some of her products act as an extreme aphrodisiac, an aspect that was severely underused, and could have led to a much more light hearted and entertaining piece, as at one point it seemed to be heading towards.
Overall, the tone was far too unbalanced; whimsical at times and overly serious at others, and the myriad of diversions – Alfred Molina’s stern mayor attempting to My Fair Lady Peter Stormare’s abusive barman, Binoche’s unfulfilling fling with sailing drifter Johnny Depp – leave the palate tempted but wanting for more depth. The outer shell is sweet and smooth, but alas where a rich praline centre should be there is nought but a hollow cavity. Everything looks delicious though, and I picked up a few tips for my own chocolate making.