Award winning writer/director Jane Campion (The Piano, An Angel At My Table) returns to themes of art and the senses with Bright Star.

It explores the brief, but intense relationship between Fanny Brawne and poet John Keats.

Keats had a tumultuous life, his work was savaged by the criticism he had a tough upbringing in which his family were struck down by tuberculosis; it would also claim his life at the age of 25.
Award winning writer/director Jane Campion (The Piano, An Angel At My Table) returns to themes of art and the senses with Bright Star.

It explores the brief, but intense relationship between Fanny Brawne and poet John Keats.

Keats had a tumultuous life, his work was savaged by the criticism he had a tough upbringing in which his family were struck down by tuberculosis; it would also claim his life at the age of 25.

All this considered, we are offered an undramatic, pensive sort of film. Much like Keats own writing, it is wordy, well paced and full of sensual delights. With Campion's directing you can smell the crocuses and feel the breeze on your face.

Ben Whishaw is the perfect choice to portray a man who lives through his thoughts, and is perhaps the most fragile element at work. This contrasts nicely with his friend Brown (Paul Schneider) who is rude and overbearing, driven by ambiguous desires of love and jealousy. Less can be said about Abbie Cornish as Brawne, who mostly fringes on 'petulant', which I found surprising in a female driven film.

Beautiful and thoughtful, but more a passing love-note than an epic for the ages.


And now for something much more modern:

The first half of The Disappearance of Alice Creed reads like the subplot of an action movie; a typical kidnapping scenario, with the absence of a hero. Then the twists kick in. It would spoil the experience to relate too much of the plot, but I'll just say that the relationships between the two kidnappers, and the girl being held to ransom are not what they first appear.

The setting is ambitiously sedentary, but there is enough suggestion of the outside world to avoid claustrophobia. The directing is neat enough, although it never reaches the tension of a full-on thriller. The actors (including Eddie Marsan in what must be his 3012th British film this decade) play their characters on the verge of breaking for most of the film. This becomes a little tiresome and might have better served the unpredictable script with greater shades of light and dark.