Rebecca (⭐⭐)

Director: Ben Wheatley. Cast: Lily JamesJacques BouanichMarie Collins 

Remaking any film by Alfred Hitchcock is NEVER a good idea, whether it’s the ’39 steps’, Psycho, Rear Window and so on… The original ‘Rebecca’ is of course a masterpiece, but it’s also an 80 years old film. Surely there must be a way to revisit it, without making a mockery and bringing a more modern sensitivity to the old story? Well, if there is, director Ben Wheatley is absolutely unable to do anything with it (aside from adding a third rushed act.) The only real “modern” twist I could see was in the editing, which was possibly the most annoying and confusing editing I’ve seen in long long time, constantly intercutting sequences with each other, not only diminishing their effect (see the way Mrs. Danvers is introduced, with a quick flash even before the new Mrs. de Winter sees her for the first time, hence depriving the audience of really being in the heroine’ shoes), but also making everything needlessly confusing. Something else that really annoyed the hell out of me was the soundtrack, constantly playing in the background despite ad against the visuals as if somebody had forgotten to write it and they had to throw something in at the very last moment.There are some good production values , which makes the final product even more disappointing, because it doesn’t matter how good the locations are (though Manderley here looks more Downton Abbey than the “haunted house” I’ve grown up watching) how vibrant the cinematography is, how good Kristin Scott Thomas is, everything about the film ends up feeling a bit dull.Obviously it goes without saying that Lily James (who is really dreadful in my view) is no Joan Fontaine and, however much he tries, Armie Hammer is no Laurence Olivier, but to be honest they are the least of my problems. It’s Ben Wheatley who doesn’t know what film he’s making, misses all the marks and seems to have mis-read everything that made Rebecca such an enduring classic. Instead what he’s given us is something which despite its lush colours is just a pale imitation and a very limp film. …And now let’s just wait for Michael Bay’s version of “the Birds” (no kidding, it’s really happening).

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