Thursday, January 14, 2010

Review - The Young Victoria

The Young Victoria is very typical of the sorts of European costume dramas we've seen in recent years; handsomely made but ultimately forgettable. This particular one is well-acted but poorly structured. The cross-cutting between separate but simultaneous scenes seems awkward and unnecessary. The ending underwhelms. The visual motifs of a palace being a prison, while relevant, are undermined by blunt and unneeded narration. A ray of redemption does come in the from of Emily Blunt's performance as the young Queen Victoria, exuding a growing maturation over the course of her youth as conniving politicians try to use her for political gains.

The sets are finely built, as are Sandy Powell's fancy period costumes. Hagen Bogdanski's cinematography may not be particularly special, but he earns an honourable mention for some interesting focus shots.

An Oscar mention for Costume Design, I fear, is pretty much guaranteed. Not that Powell's threads aren't decent enough, but there's such better work in contention this year that I'll be miffed if this ends up winning the category. Someone might want to remind the voters that it is possible to design good costumes that don't come from this particular historical period. Art Direction could likely follow, like last year's The Duchess.

** out of ****

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