MY COUSIN RACHEL (12A)
MY COUSIN RACHEL (12A)
Run time: 105 MINS
Director: Roger Michell
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Iain Glen, Pierfrancesco Favino, Simon Russell Beale
Synopsis: A dark romance, My Cousin Rachel tells the story of a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.
Director Roger Michell [Le Week-End (2013); Hyde Park on Hudson (2012); Venus (2006); Enduring Love (2004); The Mother (2003)] brings us a good looking adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s mysterious, ambiguous, Gothic psychological thriller.
The literary output of Daphne du Maurier has always proved a rich seam for film directors to mine, such as Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn (1939), Rebecca (1940) and The Birds (1963) and Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 masterpiece Don’t Look Now.
A previous notable screen version of Rachel was Henry Koster’s 1952 film with Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton; and a 1983 BBC serial starred Geraldine Chaplin and Christopher Guard.
Rachel Weisz [Denial (2016); The Light Between Oceans (2016); Youth (2015); The Deep Blue Sea (2011)] is a mesmerising, enigmatic, beautiful Rachel, who enthrals the naïve, Philip Ashley, played by Sam Claflin Their Finest (2016), Me Before You (2016), The Hunger Games (2015,2014,2013)]
Set in the 19th century on a large estate in Cornwall, we find Philip an orphan who has been brought up by his cousin, Ambrose Ashley (also played by Claflin) who has had to go to Italy for a climate to improve his health. There he has married another cousin, the mysterious Rachel.
Philip is disturbed by the letters which Ambrose sends home before his death, and he becomes convinced that Cousin Rachel is a malevolent force. When Ambrose dies and Rachel eventually comes to England, he becomes obsessed with her – falling for her charms but tormented by doubts. His passionate and erratic behaviour alarms his guardian, Nick Kendall [(Iain Glen – Game of Thrones (2011-2017), Resident Evil (2007), The Iron Lady (2011)] and his daughter, Louise [(Holliday Grainger – Cinderella (2015), Jane Eyre (2011), Their Finest (2016) The Borgias (2011-13)].
With immaculate mise-en-scene, flawless cinematography by Mike Eley [Touching the Void ( 2003)], the film highlights the beauty of the Cornish coast and Arezzo in Tuscany. Composer Rael Jones (Les Miserables (2012) ]provides an atmospheric score.
There is a very strong supporting ensemble – particularly, Pierfrancesco Favino [Suburra (2015), Rush (2013), World War Z (2013] as Rainaldi the eccentric Italian visitor who arouses suspicion of foul play when Rachel frequently plies him with herbal tea –tisanes. lead Philip to heightened suspicion.
Is Rachel a murderous, gold-digger or an independent woman?
In this enthralling Gothic, psychological, emotionally complex thriller, nothing is neatly tied up and everything is ambivalent.
Images courtesy of Fox