It’s a shame, therefore, to see a brave and unconventional filmmaker slip into complacency as he tackles his most mainstream project to date, complete with period setting (post-World War I Australia) and a handsome leading couple. Also at hand, an Alexandre Desplat score that is far too intrusive, constantly trying to tell the viewer how to respond to the various twists and turns on an emotional level.
Then again, such manipulation becomes a necessity when, in addition to dodgy writing, the film is stuck with highly uneven work from its three main actors. Rachel Weisz does grief and anguish very well, but a lack of strong material to work with is fairly evident in most of her scenes. Similarly, Alicia Vikander is more convincing in the subdued first half of the film, before she’s required to get louder and less sympathetic.
And then there’s Michael Fassbender, easily the best of the trio, half-baked Aussie accent aside (a trait he shares with his two co-stars). Playing a role he could most likely perform in his sleep, he brings his customary intensity to proceedings and remains eminently watchable from start to finish, even as the contrivances start piling up.
Ultimately, The Light Between Oceans is a sublimely mounted yet startlingly hollow period piece, a rare misstep for a director who thrives on thinking outside the box. Fans of Fassbender and, to some degree, Vikander might get their money’s worth, as long as they don’t consider this film a suitable candidate for date night.
|What||The Light Between Oceans film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
04 Nov 16 – 04 Jan 17, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|