Review: DIANA (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Review: DIANA (2013)

Poor script, bad direction and Naomi Watts' surprisingly empty performance as Princess Diana makes this biopic a waste of time.

At first glance, DIANA looks like a winner already: it has critically-acclaimed director Oliver Hirschbiegel (DOWNFALL) on the helm; two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts (21 GRAMS, THE IMPOSSIBLE) as the lead; and of course, a biopic subject about one of the most famous figures in the 20th century, Princess Diana. Unfortunately, DIANA does the impossible -- a surprisingly dull and uninspiring biopic that doesn't says much about Princess Diana other than making her a strict caricature as if she is created from a movie-character template.


DIANA concentrates on the last two years of Princess Diana's (Naomi Watts) life after she divorced from Prince Charles. She then meets Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews), a heart surgeon whom she instantly falls in love with him on the first sight, and facing the subsequent ups-and-downs of their secret affair until her eventual tragic car accident in 1997.

As Princess Diana, Naomi Watts manages to emulate her body language as well as her vocal pattern with admirable result. In fact, her glamorous appearance -- ranging from her famous hairdo, makeup to her wardrobe -- is spot-on. But...

... Naomi Watts fails to elevate her character beyond the surface. Instead of giving us a smart and sophisticated woman who idolized by millions of peoples around the world, her portrayal here is strangely reminiscent of a cardboard cutout. And why is she acting like a schoolgirl most of the time? As Hasnat, Naveen Andrews (best known in TV's Lost) doesn't do much to make his character worthwhile. His chemistry with Naomi Watts fails to spark as genuine, flesh-and-blood couple. Oliver Hirschbiegel's direction is surprisingly flat and uninspired as if he was making a forgettable TV movie-of-the-week.

But the biggest culprit here is Stephen Jeffreys' awful screenplay. Inspired from Kate Snell's 2001 book Diana: Her Last Love, his screenplay plays like a Hollywood fairy-tale romance between Diana and Hasnat. Apart from that, there's little to be learned about Diana's so-called complexity of her private life. Everything here is so sugarcoated and so lightweight as if I was watching a parody version of DIANA.


DIANA is a huge disappointment, and an embarrassing effort that should be best forgotten.


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