The Intended

on June 25, 2004 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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A gothic oddity, the latest Dogme film from Kristian Levring (“The King is Alive”) is a provocative but pointless drama that squanders a fascinating setting and talented cast.

In 1924 Malaysia, Hamish (“Last Orders'” JJ Feild), a young British surveyor, and his older fiancée, Sarah (“Songcatcher's” Janet McTeer), the film's “intended,” show up, as contracted, at an isolated trading post. The post's head, Mrs. Jones (“The War Bride's” Brenda Fricker), immediately takes a dislike to the couple's living arrangements and attempts to financially cheat them. When Hamish refuses to be bullied, she acquiesces and all seems fine until Mrs. Jones' disturbed son William (Tony Maudsley) enters the scene and takes a shine to Sarah.

While “The Intended” is never as predictable as it might have been, and has one genuinely disturbing scene, it also fails to scale the heights of sensuality and creepiness it's obviously aiming for. Muddily shot, “The Intended” is competent but cold and uninvolving. Starring Janet McTeer, Brenda Fricker, Tony Maudsley and Olympia Dukakis. Directed by Kristian Levring. Written by Kristian Levring and Janet McTeer. Produced by Malene Blenkov and Patricia Kruijer. An IFC release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 110 min

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