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It is not the horror of landmines that is making the headlines back home, but reports of the Princess's romance with Dodi Fayed. Speculation fueled by the arrival last night of a car similar to that owned by the Princess.
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Not one of the year's worst, but one of the year's most disappointing- Diana deserved much better
This did have the potential to be good. The subject matter was an interesting one, Naomi Watts is a very good actress, Naveen Andrews was great on LOST and while Downfall needs a re-watch I seem to remember that it did show a director with some talent in Oliver Hirschbiegel. Despite this potential, personally Diana was disappointing, and not just as a biopic or a story based on Diana's life but as a film in general. In fact you don't even need to know much about Diana or the Royal Family to see how much Diana fails outside of historical value. The lovely scenery and interiors(Diana's fashions are nice too), Naveen Andrews' appealing performance- though in an underwritten and not very likable role- and the moving ending did save the film somewhat, other than that Diana for me didn't work. Naomi Watts does a valiant job in the difficult title role and gets the mannerisms down pat and has charisma, but her performance did seem mannerisms-heavy and I never felt that Watts quite disappeared into the role. It's not her fault though as she doesn't have much material of note to work with. Diana as a character is very underwritten and also comes across as doe-eyed and shallow, in fact none of the characters are written well at all which was why other talented actors like Douglas Hodge, Geraldine James and Juliet Stevenson(Stevenson's sincere performance was the most memorable of the supporting cast) were criminally underused. The story was an interesting subject, on film though it never engages. Iconic scenes are there but are little more than "slide shows" compared to everything else, and some like Diana's controversial interview came across as one-sided and skimmed over.
That was the effect a lot of the film had, it is dominated by the romance of Diana and Hasnat while Diana's family other than in some iconic moments the film captures or in reference we learn little of, Dodi Fayad is introduced far too late and the Royal Family are almost completely side lined. Worse, the romance is not written well at all, despite the commendable efforts of the two leads you have a hard time investing emotionally in either Diana or Hasnat. The storytelling on the most part is too skimmed over with no real substance, has too many scenes that have little or no meaning or relevance, is often repetitive especially the falling into bed even after an argument, and parts are paced tediously. As clumsy some of the exposition is, the worst of the dialogue is in the romance, the first half of Diana is incredibly awkward in its writing, the sort you'd hear on a first date when you don't know what to say with the pauses and all. It gets a tad better in the second half but is still stilted and half-baked. In short, the writing in Diana in personal opinion was dire. Hirschbiegel's directing is little improvement either, very little flair and the scenes focused on the romance are given little sympathy or momentum. No matter how good the scenery and interiors are they are not matched by the photography which was reminiscent of a Lifetime movie, think of 2011's William and Kate except not quite as badly edited or shot. Some shots had a dizzying effect and others a pedestrian effect or in artsy style(a style that I have no negative bias at all towards, quite the contrary) that looked very out of place within the film. The music was at best forgettable, which was the feeling Diana as a film overall had. In conclusion, not a complete disaster but very disappointing. It tried to be careful not to offend but instead it was awkwardly written, underdeveloped and dull as a result, and actually to me how Diana was written would be insulting to many people. 3/10 Bethany Cox
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