Movie Review: Amelia (2010)

March 12th, 2010 - 10:53 pm ICT by Sampurn Wire  

Amelia: Is a boring bio-pic

Rating: 2 out of 5*

Starring: Hilary Swank, Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor

Director: Mira Nair

The film narrates the tale of Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank) the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. The narrative of the film however toggles between Amelia Earhart’s (Swank) final flight, in which she and navigator Fred Noonan (Christopher Eccleston) attempted to circumnavigate the globe in 1937, and various events beginning in 1928, when she became the first woman to fly the Atlantic. Her fame grows, thanks to publisher G.P. Putnam (Richard Gere), who becomes first her publicist and then her husband — although Amelia affirms her autonomy by embarking on a lengthy affair with socialite and airline founder Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor). Triumphant landings and ticker-tape parades follow, as do product endorsements, White House dinners and a return to Putnam. Then, in her second attempt to fly round the world, Earhart misses a refueling rendezvous in the Pacific and disappears at age 39.

Director Mira Nair can’t seem to find the film’s emotional through-line, the central thread that holds it all together. The film sprawls, then, but with no surprises, no passion, and no foreseeable endpoint except the inevitable splashdown in the Pacific. And even this climactic sequence, which should be filled with white-knuckle moments, is drawn out and oddly emotionless. However,Ameliadoes not lack visual splendor. Stuart Dryburgh’s sumptuous cinematography drips with color and detail, the production design is elegant, and the costuming will have you pining for the days when everyone looked effortlessly dapper.

Hilary Swank bares an uncanny resemblance to Amelia Earhart, especially with the aid of a shaggy haircut and a buck-toothed dental prosthetic. Swank sinks into the character. Richard Gere is dreary and tame as George Putnam, the famed granddaddy of public relations, and his 1930s radio announcer accent is slightly ridiculous. Ewan McGregor is appropriately debonair, but he’s essentially stuck in the lifestyle of the rich and boring. And while Christopher Eccleston does get a bit more complexity to work with as Amelia’s functionally drunk navigator Fred Noonan, their relationship isn’t developed enough to make a difference.

While the sleek aircraft featured in the film are works of art in their own right, the film is a dried out drama that sucks all the joy out of flying and fails to give us any new insight about the life and times of Lady Lindy. Safe, predictable, and unwilling to take any risks,Amelia’s tone flatly contradicts the boundary-breaking life of the actual Amelia. In short, the film is a boring bio-pic that can be given a miss and watched on a DVD at home.

– Abhijit Mhamunkar / Sampurn Wire

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