Saturday, April 30, 2011

'Water for Elephants' - Our Review

We attended a press screening of 'Water for Elephants' on Thursday - below is our review.

Based on the international best selling book by Sara Gruen, 'Water for Elephants' is a classic piece of film that will transport you to an era long past, but after you watch this movie, one you will not soon forget. 

From the very beginning when we happen upon old Jacob (Hal Holbrook) standing amidst the circus trucks in the rain, you feel for the character. As he begins to tell his story, the film transitions seamlessly back to the 1930's where a dashing Robert Pattinson plays the role of young Jacob Jankowski. A tragic accident changes the course of Jacob's life and in a moment all his dreams are gone, his future unknown. 

Hopping a train, leaving his past behind him, Jacob finds himself thrown into circus life unwittingly. As an almost fully trained veterinarian he is found useful to the Ring Master of the circus, August (Christoph Waltz). August is a beguiling, sometimes charming man who will entrance you one moment, only to fill you with sheer dread and terror in the next. An evil lurks under the big top in the form of this man who is played well by Oscar winner Christoph, known for another character's evil deeds in 'Inglorious Basterds'. 

Reese Witherspoon completes the trio of lead roles, as Marlena, August's wife. She seems to be the only one who truly understands her husband and doesn't think there's anything she can get from a life outside the circus, until she meets Jacob. Marlena is the star attraction of the circus, until an incident that throws her path in line with that of Mr. Jankowski (Robert Pattinson). This is how we come to meet the real star of the film, in the form of a pachyderm named Rosie (Tai). Working together to train Rosie, Marlena and Jacob soon discover a mutual empathy for the animal and its well being under a cruel leader, proving that love can blossom even in an era of depression. But can their love survive a man who is the master of his small universe and views even people as his possessions to dispose of as he wishes?

Witherspoon and Waltz, along with Tai and a fabulous cast, play their roles marvellously and in line with the spirit of the book which for the most part the movie stays true to. Robert Pattinson shows true acting skill in this film; his charming interaction with Rosie, his easy alliance with 'Camel', played by Ireland's own Jim Norton, his dramatic relationship with August, and his passionate displays with Marlena, all combine to show that this man has a future as Hollywood's leading man. The depth of emotion shown in his eyes in some scenes is so apparent, it will leave you without any doubt of what he is portraying.

Visually the film is breathtaking to watch. Francis Lawrence, Director, does an amazing job of making the viewer feel the authenticity of the time. You will have a visceral reaction to some of the scenes and long after it's over you will be discussing the sheer emotion of it all. 

Water for Elephants has a theme of escapism running through it with each character, even the elephant, having something in their lives they needed to escape from.So, let yourself escape and run away with the circus. 

Do not red-light this film- It is, after all, the most spectacular show on earth!

'Water for Elephants' hits Irish cinemas on Wednesday 4th May (Paid Previews) & General Release on Friday 6th May - Book Your Tickets NOW!!!