The Duke of Burgundy (18)
Running time: 104 min
Directed by: Peter Strickland
Starring: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Monica Swinn, Chiara D’Anna| See full cast and crew »
Harked in the advertising blurb as ‘by turns kinky, dryly comic and compellingly surreal’, I was expecting so much more from this film. The only thing keeping me in my seat was the obligation to write this and, by proxy, possibly save some readers the six odd pounds the cinema desires.
It’s hard to find a plot or even traces of one. All I got from this was the telling of a bizarre sado-masochistic relationship between Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen, a massive television star in her native Denmark) and her recently hired housekeeper Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna) . While beautifully filmed and acted, there’s only odd moments of tension or any real sense of this movie going anywhere compelling, even the titillating soft porn scene including water-sports etc etc that are scattered through the entire 144 minutes lose interest after the first couple.
But S&M seems to be the order of the day at the moment with 50 Shades of Grey getting all the hype, no doubt Ann Summers will do well out of this and its ilk.
Looking through my notes I’m at a loss what to write. The only time I laughed was when the submissive Evelyn asks: “I need to sleep, can I be put in the trunk tonight?” Apart from that it’s just the study of butterflies (hence the film’s title) and the younger housekeeper redoing manual tasks that apparently are not up to sadistic Cynthia’s incredibly high standards.
Director Peter Strickland has achieved something great on the eye and supported by a wisely chosen epic and haunting gothic type score, it’s just a pity he forgot a plot, with perhaps the meshing of the roles toward the end as Evelyn starts to blossom into her sexuality and Cynthia pulls back a little. What is maybe the saving grace for this film is after a while you get over the gender of the two characters and focus more on the developing relationship.
There’s not one line uttered by a man to be found, and perhaps a female audience will get more of the nuanced performances by both the actors, but for me, after the titillation factor wears off there’s very little to see here.
1 out of 5 Nerds