Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dunsany Dreams

Caught today (at the Cambridge Arts Cinema): Dean Spanley.

This presumably counts as some kind of freak, insofar as it's a 21st century fantasy movie (based on a work by a Famous Fantasy Author, even), with no special effects whatsoever. Apart, of course, from Peter O'Toole's acting, which admittedly makes the annual output of Industrial Light and Magic look feeble by comparison.

It's to the film's credit that it still comes across as a four-way ensemble piece, with Sam Neill carrying the actual fantastical element by playing absolutely straight. (Some actors might have succumbed to temptation when playing a man remembering being a dog and with O'Toole on the set, but this isn't Neill in The Piano mode.) And Jeremy Northam and Bryan Brown handle their jobs smoothly, Northam in particular playing off O'Toole just right. Credit also to Judy Parfitt for her supporting work, and to the town of Wisbech for impersonating halcyon-days Edwardian England.

It's a flimsy little number, but gem-like. Anyway, highly recommended.

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