Julien Temple, director of "The Filth and the Fury" and "Absolute
Beginners" takes you behind treason, beyond madness and into the depths
of the human mind in this esoteric production from Universal M&V starring
John Hannah (The Mummy Returns), Linus Roach and supported by Emily Woof and
2000 Academy Award Nominee Samantha Morton.
The movie takes you visually into the poems created by the two celebrities of
their time, putting to film aspects of love and creativity. The core of the
story is the relationship between William Wordsworth (John Hannah), a fledgling
poet concerned with society and the life of England's estuary fishermen and
his mentor Samuel Coleridge (Linus Roach), poet, magical thinker and political
activist who strives in his writing to go the the outer limits of the imagination
where few others dare to go. Searching for liberty of the mind, he hopes, by
accomplishing this, he can change the thinking of society to end the war in
France and slavery. Taking historical liberties for dramatic purposes, the mid
lives of the two poets are explored and their struggles with creativity, their
marriages, politics and drugs during the period of political upheaval of the
French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon.
Slowly succumbing to a drug, Coleridge ponders over his work, "The Rime
of the Ancient Mariner," to the point of insanity and sparking the creation
of "Kubla Kahn." Unfortunately, due in part to his addiction to Opium,
the relationship decays as William achieves creative brilliance while Samuel
falls into the depths of despair and hopelessness ending in near destruction
of his artistic mind.
But, the movie takes unexpected liberties with history. The genius of Wordsworth
is shown as repressed, and portrays his sister Dorothy as an unexpected visionary
finding symbolisms in the works that he, himself, did not purposely create.
She falls in love with Coleridge which makes William jealous to the point of
being unable to compose without the presence of her beside him while becoming
the inspiration to Coleridge to create poetry he could have never done alone.
When her brother decides to marry is it more than Dorothy can bear and she,
as well, falls into the clutches of Opium, due in part to her suggested incestuous
relationship with him. In addition, it is awash with contemporary images of
jet trails, cell phones and oil spills that snap you back to reality. It's unclear
if these are depictions of future events or parallels of what was happening
then to current events. Even the end credits are very odd, depicting a studdered
Coleridge in a music video version of Olivia Newton-John's "Xanadu",
the expressionist setting for his work Kubla Kahn.
But besides these oddities, it is a interesting tale where the villain is ultimately
exposed and the victim saved by the mostly unlikely of sources.
Full screen 1.66:1 widescreen, Region 1, Closed Captioned, 125 minutes.
Vivid colors and beautiful scenery. CGI effects mixed throughout to bring
the written word to life. Sharp focus with some grain appearing in the dark
scenes, but is acceptable.
Clean and clear orchestral pieces and solo instrumentation appropriate
for the period creates a compelling atmosphere to the film.
Full motion (Play Movie, Scene Index[18 chapters], Trailer, Trailer Gallery,
Trailer - Theatrical Trailer
for this movie.
Trailer Gallery - Trailers for "Late Marriage", "In
The Mood for Love" and "Vidocq"
Setup - English 2.0 Dolby stereo, French 2.0 Dolby stereo.
Featurette - Clips from the movie with commentary by producer
Nick O'Hagan, Samantha Morton, Linus Roach, Julien Temple and others in the
Definitely geared toward viewers interested in 18th century neoromantic
poetry, it's a stunningly beautiful mix of scenery and music. A study in creativity
and imagination, filled with strong visualizations of the written word in dreamy
special effect sequences. If you don't mind some contemporary effects interspersed
throughout and an occasional twist on historical fact, "Pandaemonium"
will certainly provide a night of enjoyment.