Title – Tulip Fever (2017)
Director – Justin Chadwick (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
Cast – Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Christoph Waltz, Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger, Tom Hollander, Zach Galifianakis, Judi Dench, Cara Delevingne
Plot – During the time of the tulip fever sweeping Europe in the 17th century, Amsterdam resident Sophia Sandvoort (Vikander) starts an affair with artist Jan van Loos (DeHaan) and begins to plot a way out of her marriage with the much older Cornelius (Waltz).
“First to flower, first to fall”
Review by Eddie on 27/06/2018
Filmed way back in 2014, to say that the background of Tulip Fever is one of much change and concerning history is an understatement and upon evaluation of the final product, it seems as though this is one particular period drama that would’ve done well to sit out its life on the shelf of what could’ve been.
At one stage or another a project that had John Madden attached as a director, Steven Spielberg on as producer and stars Jude Law and Keira Knightly lined up to be in front of the camera, director Justin Chadwick’s adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel of the same name is a rather cold and flavourless experience that is supposed to throw us headfirst into Alicia Vikander’s Sophia Sandvoort’s whirlwind romance with Dane DeHaan’s budding painter Jan van Loos in the face of a cold marriage to Christoph Waltz’s exporting merchant Cornelis Sandvoort in Amsterdam of the 17th century but instead throws us into a drama by the numbers narrative that lacks any true passion or pulsating heart.
It’s not like Tulip Fever doesn’t have the potential and the star power to make it succeed, at its core being it has a story that should’ve and could’ve been something to get emotionally invested into but Chadwick’s lacklustre directing and poor script work by screenwriters Tom Stoppard and Deborah Moggach weigh the film down to a point where it all seems rather frivolous and pointless and we begin to wonder why we should care about anything at all within this dull and dry experience.
There’s no real commitment in the film, no real passion, not even actors of Vikander’s and Walt’z skill can make things ramp up a notch despite their best efforts while supports are mixed with De Haan as lifeless as his ever been, like his wondered in from a long night out at the bar, while other notable performers like Jack O’Connell and Cara Delevingne barely get a chance to do anything in their minimal roles, ditto for Dame Judi Dench and the pointless addition of usual funny man Zach Galifianakis.
The other huge problem with Tulip Fever is the fact that with Vikander’s Sophia cheating and manipulating her husband such a core component of the film, it’s hard to get on board with her plot as Cornelius is a rather genuine man, his not an evil or nasty man, rather one that wants the best for his wife and his hoped for family, making much of Fever’s key developments hard to agree with.
Final Say –
With brief, fleeting moments of what could’ve been, Tulip Fever isn’t irredeemably bad but Chadwick’s efforts to transport us to a time and place we end up caring deeply about leave a lot to be desired. Considering the cast at its disposal, Tulip Fever’s end product is a deeply disappointing outcome.
2 little soldier’s out of 5