Pandaemonium

on June 29, 2001 by Kevin Courrier
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   Julien Temple's "Pandaemonium" is a ghastly marriage between MTV and Ken Russell. You don't learn anything about the emergence of English romanticism, or the nature of the conflicting personalities of poets William Wordsworth (John Hannah) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Linus Roache). Temple and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce barely set the context for the period, and we're off spinning in opium delusions and poetic hyperbole. Amidst all the visual razzle-dazzle is the banal idea that these literary mavericks were doomed idealists.

   What made Wordsworth and Coleridge such opposing forces in romantic literature was that Wordsworth depicted nature as a benevolent force, while Coleridge saw nature as something dark and daemonic (especially in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"). But "Pandaemonium," besides fumbling a number of historical facts, never delves into those artistic sensibilities. If the movie did, we'd understand why they both attracted and repelled each other. "Pandaemonium" instead becomes pretentious chaos.    Starring John Hannah, Linus Roache, Samantha Morton and Emily Woof. Directed by Julien Temple. Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Produced by Nick O'Hagen. No distributor set. Drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 120 min.

Tags: romance, literature, poets, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, historical, John Hannah, Linus Roache, Samantha Morton, Emily Woof, Julien Temple, Frank Cottrell Boyce
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