Thank the movie gods for Movie Pass. For without this I probably wouldn’t check out lesser known films like this. Who am I kidding? I would have still watched it for the goddess that is Alicia Vikander. On paper this looked like a good period piece. Nothing excellent, but then again it’s hard to judge something just from the trailers. I enjoyed the film for the most part. It’s a little too overplotted though and could have used editing in that regard.
The film takes place in 17th century madness where tulips were the craze and people would invest heavily in the flower. This is the setting for a forbidden love story about a married woman who starts an affair with a painter who was hired by her husband to paint them. The film also stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne (both hiding out in Amsterdam after the disastrous Valerian), and also the always great Christoph Waltz.
I thought production and costume design was good and captured a knotty grittier Amsterdam of the past. Waltz is always good, especially when there is a comedic element to his character like there is here. I enjoyed portions of the film but can’t help but feel the writing of the film (or novel of basis for that matter) is too messy and can’t escape feeling rushed. The first 20 minutes had too much quick cuts and quick progression. Once the film gelled in, it got better but was brought down by too much plot.
The tulip craze as a backdrop really took away from the main story. Judi French and Cara Delevigne are just there as part of it, with no real development of character. I like Dane DeHaan but don’t think him and Vikander pair up well. There was a lack of chemistry. And then there’s all that’s going on with Holiday Grainger’s arc. I still liked a bulk of the film it just needed to be stronger at some points. I thought the ending was also so shoe-horned in and disappointing.
The film would have worked better as a TV miniseries so then all the plot lines could be developed properly and characters given better to work with. Overall, it’s enjoyable but just feel like better writing would make the film really stand out as the period piece it should be.