A Little Chaos (Drama, Romance, Costume Drama, 2014) (12A) D: Alan Rickman W: Jeremy Brock, Alison Deegan C: Alan Rickman, Matthias Schoenaerts, Kate Winslet. 1h 57m. UK.
Synopsis : Two talented landscape artists become romantically entangled while building a garden in King Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles.
TAGLINE : Passion is in our nature.
A little chaos, for me is like a christmas cake it looks absolutely gorgeous but from the outset you know exactly what’s going to happen all the workings and insides are tried and tested. But nonetheless there is a lot to enjoy. In modern cinema and in this year especially there has seen a lot of advancements in the technological side of film making, but costume dramas have been suffering and are now fairly rare, so this does stand out and has wonderful charm, but is lacking slightly on the dramatic bosom heaving antics that would have really made this film great.
Bringing together various historic facts with a lot of modern fictions, director and astounding actor Alan Rickman has collected together an almost forgotten actress with one of the new hottest leading men together in this passionate play.
Stating rather unsettled; the characters are almost hidden behind their titles and positions, the busty down to earth (quite literally in the earth) Sabine (Kate Winslet) wins the prestigious appointment of re designing the gardens for King Louis, palace at Versailles, during this time the queen passes, the venerable King Louis (Alan Rickman) removes his royal wig and become a mere man before our eyes. Sabine manages to enchant the balanced methodological André (Matthias Schoenaerts) who’s wife is more concerned by titles and status. Stanley Tucci, Steven Waddington and Danny Webb can be seen parading around like glorious wigged peacocks at various points as the drama intensifies around Sabine’s determined and frantic working to get the garden finished in time while dealing with her own personal demons.
The film keeps it feet firmly in the ground, and even when there is need to step up the game it remains quite serene, the acting is subdued, throughout. Stanley Tucci’s character is extremely curious and entertaining as a lavish, slightly camp court dandy. There are brief moments of renaissance curiosities, nothing quite like the bizarre chess games in Four Musketeers (1974) but there is a questioning scene where Sabine is invited into the Royal chambers and suddenly the baps are out.
With a costume drama such as this, there will never be a leading song that has or will ever make it in the charts, the decision to score a modern soundtrack was sensibly passed as A Little Chaos doesn’t really have enough clout to provoke a Marie Antoinette (2008) style new romantic OST.
The acting, as you’d expect from such seasoned actors is very good. There is nothing phenomenal though, Matthias didn’t really shine as much as he has done it epic films such as Rundskop – Bullhead (2012) He keeps his one stern face despite being torn between two women, all of his achievements are faced with dull and bored visage. Kate starts to get a little repetitive and clichéd by the end, she is a hulking woman with great presence but despite all the scenes of her moving around dirt and flora she’s never reflects the grime involved and Rickman is like a pedigree cat right the way through.
As this is only the second film from actor/director Alan Rickman, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised but also I did expect something like this from him. Despite being a very French story it’s so stiff upper lip British with a heavy dose of humanism towards the end. It really lacks a dramatic edge but will delight its target audience who no doubt are looking for titillating fun in the garden.
V: I’m not entirely sure why this is strongly advertised as a comedy, but as I have no funny bone I’ll let that slide. it was the reason why I avoided it for a short while but it’s not overly comic in any way. It is a beautiful film to watch, the costumes, lavish interiors and beautiful scenery are charming, but it’s under powered in respects of a powerful story. It’s a charming romance but I was left wanting a little more.
Rating – 6/10
R: Far from the maddening Crowd (2015) , Suite Francaise (2014) , Madame Bovary (2014) , A Promise (2013) , Marie Antoinette (2006) , Orlando (1992) , Amadeus (1984)