Release Date: June 24, 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 118 mins.
Director: Akiva Goldsman
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
Stars: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe
A baby set afloat on a model boat washes up on the Brooklyn shore. This baby grows up to be Peter Lake (Colin Farrell), becomes a thief and eventually turns on his “employer”. This starts a life of ducking and dodging death at the hands of one Mr. Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe) and his cohorts. As Peter is about to leave town to escape Pearly he takes on one last job to supplement his pockets and breaks in to a wealthy family’s home as he sees them leaving for a holiday. Inside, instead of robbing the place he has his heart pilfered by the beautiful, heiress Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay). All of this sets of a love that’s more magical than Peter ever imagined.
The story seems a bit rushed at points as it was based upon a book and we know how those movies turn out. A few characters are truncated and bits and pieces are left out entirely. The actors that play the main parts throughout the film are handled fairly well by the actors. The only glaring blemish was Will Smith’s turn as Satan. It was weird seeing him try to be the all encompassing evil one but never really feeling like he was giving his all in the role. Plus, who chose the costume choice of blazer and contemporary t-shirt for him when he shows up in 1915 ? That moment took me out of the film as a viewer. Colin Farell must have drank some magical talent juice because I’ve never been overly impressed by his acting but his effort in Saving Mr. Banks and this film have changed my opinion. Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey, one of my favorite shows) is delightfully charming in the role of Beverly Penn. Her chemistry with Farrell works great on screen. Crowe as Pearly is sufficiently evil. It’s funny that he plays a demon as he’s being advertised to play Noah of Bible lore.
When everything was said and done I enjoyed my viewing experience. The performances were solid, save Smith’s run on the darkside. The story was interesting enough and cohesive enough for me to not lose interest. The love story element was just sappy enough to woo my girlfriend without becoming something I couldn’t stomach, so thumbs up for that. Valentine’s Day date night movie material for sure.