A Winter’s Tale Review

A Winter's Tale

You told me my irish accent was pitch perfect, to be sure?

The power of fate is a curious thing.

Makes one man weep, and another man sing.

Colin Farrell’s fate appears to be playing both these men on a silver screen, while the film critic’s destiny could be to deride him for this.

But I just can’t do it; no matter how bad the film, I still love the boy Farrell.

Guess this is because he’s the one hollywood star I most identify with, from his Irish heritage of dark hair with a healthy dose of mischief thrown in for good measure to his restless Celtic soul.

And in A Winter’s Tale, Farrell takes my love affair with him to new heights by looking and dressing disturbingly like, well, me.

Peter Lake is a thief but not a fiend.

Having rocked up onto New York City’s shores as a babe in the arms of a model ship his immigrant parents set adrift after they’d been turned away, the adult version of Lake finds himself in a 1920’s shaped big apple having fallen in with the wrong crew.

Said crew is also the wrong kind to fall out with, being of the mafia variety and headed by the demonic Pearly Soames.

Which is funny, because Russell Crowe’s take on an Irish accent has surely come from hell.

Having taken Lake in as his own, and twisted his instinctive talent for fixing things as a way to unfix safes of New York’s wealthy elite, Soames takes it kind of personal when our orphan hero betrays him.

I can’t really remember precisely what it is that lake did or didn’t do, A Winter’s Tale is so badly written in places that they may not have even bothered to tell us.

After learning that writer and director Akiva Goldsman was also the man who penned the god awful Batman and Robin though, all of his new film’s flaws started to make sense.

Anyway, all you need to know is Lake’s on the lam from Soames now, and is putting his thieving skills to use for his own means now.

But it seems that fate has something else in mind for our Lake, as on his last high end robbery he stumbles into someone who makes him want to steal something far more precious than gold.

A Winter’s Tale is a supernatural-ish romance spanning an entire century in the city that used to be so great they named it twice, with a story of fate and how we all have our own destinies to find and follow at its heart.

And being the sentimental kind of fellow that I am, I really liked that part.

In its execution though, A Winter’s Tale switches between this purity and some impure writing and acting that borders on the obscene.

Magical things happen without explanation or reason, and though you hope these might be tied up in the film’s final act, they’re not.

There are angels and demons in this winter’s tale, but you never know how they came to be, why they’re even involved or even why they do the things they do.

Sketchy has been ingloriously redefined by Goldsman here.

And then there’s Russell Crowe, who’s one dimensional take on bad guy Soames is either the greatest fine art hoax come vanity project in cinematic history, or the aussie actor’s worst acting performance to date.

Don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say it’s the latter, although his murderous take on an Irish accent is a sort of brilliant homage to the great Dick van Dyke.

All this really means is that my boy Colin Farrell has attached his Celtic star to yet another film that won’t do him any favours, which seems to be his own peculiar fate.

But then no-one ever said we’d get to choose our own destinies.

Jonathan Campbell

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February 2014
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