A chronicle of Gertrude Bell's life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.A chronicle of Gertrude Bell's life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.A chronicle of Gertrude Bell's life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.
* 1/2 (out of 4)
Nicole Kidman plays Gertrude Bell, the legendary British woman who would tackle various things in her lifetime and she would become one of the most loved figures in history. This Werner Herzog biography would make you think the only thing she accomplished was dating the wrong men.
Herzog is one of my favorite directors and I think everyone was excited when they learned that he was making another feature film and that he was going to be getting an actress like Kidman. The film would eventually hear boos at various screenings and it would limp into American theaters two years after it was first released. It would get some of the worst reviews of the director's career and it only managed to get back $2 million of its $36 million dollar budget.
QUEEN OF THE DESERT isn't as awful as some people have made it out to be but at the same time you can't help but call it a complete misfire on many levels. I think the majority of the blame has to go to Herzog's screenplay because this is a film about one of the most interesting women in the world and yet there's nothing interesting about her told here. For the life of me I can't figure out why this film only looks at her love life and outside of some narration, we'd never know what made her special.
I'm pretty sure Herzog was wanting to make an old'fashion epic with a strong leading lady. The problem here is that the screenplay is just deadly boring and none of the emotions the film works for are ever gotten. There's no romance, no drama, no comedy. There's really nothing here to be connected to and you basically just sit there wondering how such a film could go so wrong. At 128-minutes the film really drags in spots and it's just a real shame that the end result was so bland.
There are some good things to be said. The cinematography and music score are both extremely good. The locations used look terrific and there's no question that there are some beautiful visuals to look at. I'd also argue that Kidman was very good in the role and delivers a good performance but there's just nothing on the page for her to work with. James Franco is okay in his role and Robert Pattinson is good in the part of T.E. Lawrence.
QUEEN OF THE DESERT is sadly a film that will probably be remembered for it bombing at the box office and it coming from a legendary director. Herzog has done so many wonderful films in his life that you'd think this here would have been a sure thing but sadly it was a major bust.
- Apr 21, 2017