Queen of the Desert Friday, 10 April 2020

Queen of the Desert

Additional Info

  • Rating:

    M: Mature themes.

  • The pitch:

    Mine eyes are wet.

  • Starring:

    Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Robert Pattinson, Damian Lewis, Jenny Agutter, Holly Earl, Beth Goddard, Mark Lewis Jones, Christopher Fulford, Jay Abdo

  • Directed by:

    Werner Herzog

  • Running time:

    128 minutes

  • Rated:

    M (Australia), NR (UK), PG-13 (USA)

  • VIOLENCE/GORE:

    People are shot in the arm (non-life threatening), held against their will, knocked over. Shots fired into the air. Armed men. A glass is dropped/smashed. Shooting animals, hunting party, they kill every man/woman/child they encounter, stealing, falsed credentials, murder, assassination, rather put a bullet in my head than live without you, suicide threats, re-enlistment, war, Gallipoli mentioned. Forged documents. Raised voices. Blood/gore: Bloody wound/clothing. Animal bones/carrion. Animals hanging/cooking in bazaar. Animal head offering. Arm in sling. Broken ankle, drops of blood, 30000 men lost at Gallipoli mentioned.

  • SEX/NUDITY:

    Kissing, flirting. Woman bathing (outline of breasts/nipples seen beneath clothing). Cleavage. Infidelity. Fornication proposed. Elope, drunken orgies, eunuchs, harem mentioned.

  • VICES/DRUG USE:

    Alcohol (wine, champagne, spirits). Smoking (cigar, cigarettes). Camel racing.

  • LANGUAGE:

    A-word, bastard, b*tch, bloody, pee, fart. Name-calling. Religious references and exclamations (dear God, Lord Almighty, prayer, etc). Misogyny (period chauvinism). Derogatory comments about Jews, Arabs, French, Germans, women.

  • THEMES:

    Gertrude Lowthian Bell, exploration, love, heartbreak, tribal politics, Bedouin, the British Empire, society, intelligence, World War I, travel, writing, cartography, archeology, conviction, rejection, poetry, grief, diary-keeping, infidelity.

  • HIDDEN EXTRAS:

    Dead lovers. Marriage proposal. Camels, horses, sheep, hawks, falcons, vulture, caged chicken, deer, swans, lion cubs, goats, donkeys. Animal carcasses/heads hanging (bazaar). Fear of horses, riding on goatskins, widow mentioned. Some written Farsi (translated). Some Arabic.

  • CRITICS LIKE:

    Compelling, long-overdue, pretty, watchable, grown-up, respectable, historical, competent. Charming performance by James Franco, delicate/determined/expressive performance by Nicole Kidman, giddy/old-fashioned kissing scene, extravagant/magnificent locations, valorizing widescreen cinematography, hagiographic/orchestral/swelling score.

  • CRITICS DON'T LIKE:

    Episodic, syrupy, cringe-inducing, banal, solemn, disappointing, plodding, literal, flat, passionless, prosaic, pedestrian, starchy, un-Werner Herzog. Underpowered/understated narrative, long/dry passages, regrettable dialogue, odd/cheesy accents, some historical inaccuracy, lacks dramatic conflict/psychiatric intensity, Robert Pattison is hysterically miscast, Kidman is too Hollwood-perfect, dishonours Bell's rule-disregarding nature by focusing on her love life.

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