THE GOLDFINCH (15)
THE GOLDFINCH (15)
Run time: 150 MINS
Director: John Crowley
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Oakes Fegley, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson, Finn Wolfhard, Aneurin Barnard, Denis O’Hare
Synopsis: Theodore “Theo” Decker was 13 years old when his mother was killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tragedy changes the course of his life, sending him on a stirring odyssey of grief and guilt, reinvention and redemption, and even love. Through it all, he holds on to one tangible piece of hope from that terrible day…a painting of a tiny bird chained to its perch. The Goldfinch.
Director John Crowley [Intermission (2003), Boy A (2007), Brooklyn (2015)] brings to the screen the hotly anticipated The Goldfinch, the film adaptation of Donna Tartt’s globally acclaimed bestseller of the same name, which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and spent more than thirty weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers list.
With a script from Peter Straughan [Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy (2011), Frank (2014), The Snowman (2017)], this complex, weighty coming-of-age tale of Theodore ‘Theo’ Decker (Oakes Fegley as the child; Ansel Elgort as the adult) begins when the 13 year old Theo’s mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tragedy changes the course of his life, sending him on a stirring odyssey of grief and guilt, reinvention and redemption, and even love. Through it all, he holds on to one tangible piece of hope from that terrible day – a painting of a tiny bird chained to its perch, The Goldfinch
The film opens with a twenty-something Theo (Elgort) hooked on prescription medication and contemplating suicide. The plot cuts back and forth between time-frames, following its troubled protagonist as he drifts from a wealthy adoptive family – with a cool Nicole Kidman as Mrs Barbour – in New York as a child, to a drug-addled adult existence in the world of art forgery in Las Vegas.
Beautifully filmed by cinematographer Roger Deakins, the film boasts a strong ensemble cast. But somehow The Goldfinch disappoints its source material by the over-use of elliptical flashbacks which slow a complex narrative, and some sequences struggle to convey plot lines which are too episodic with the result that the laboured storytelling is often unable to reflect the rich, engrossing original story.
The painting of the title is one of the few surviving works by Rembrandt’s most promising pupil, Carel Fabritius. Almost all of Fabritius’ works were destroyed in the Delft explosion of 1654, in which the artist himself was killed. It belongs to the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands.
Images courtesy of: Warner