Well-acted but predictable period tale disappoints

The Painted Veil

on December 20, 2006 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
A British couple in a loveless marriage finds their feelings tested when the husband drags his wife along to rural China, where he has been sent to help the authorities deal with a cholera epidemic. The Painted Veil, based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham, is a handsome 1920s period piece that boasts fine acting but is also saddled with a predictable and obvious storyline. Naomi Watts is superb as Kitty Fane, a spoiled upper-class woman who slowly learns responsibly — and grows up — when she is thrust into a harsh environment. As her betrayed husband Walter, Edward Norton matches her excellent performance, offering a subtle take on a character who undergoes a riveting transformation from naif to brute to, finally, hero. The film, alas, never scales their acting heights, plodding along in a staid fashion and tamping down the strong emotions that reside below its surface. This should have been a much more powerful movie. Distributor: Warner Independent
Cast: Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber and Toby Jones
Director: John Curran
Screenwriter: Ron Nyswaner
Producers: Sara Colleton, Jean-Francois Fonlupt, Bob Yari, Edward Norton and Naomi Watts
Genre: Drama
Rating: PG-13 for some mature sexual situations, partial nudity, disturbing images and brief drug content
Running time: 124 min.
Release date: December 20, 2006 NY/LA
Tags: Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Toby Jones, John Curran, Ron Nyswaner, Sara Colleton, Jean-Francois Fonlupt, Bob Yari, Drama, love, relationships, affair, heart break, disease, pregancy, hero

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