Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Film Openings 

Week of December 28, 2006

The Painted Veil. (Not Rated) Given what an awful stiff Somerset Maugham can be, it's remarkable how many movies have been made of his uptight tales of civil servants sweating it out in British colonies (48 for the big screen alone). John Curran's fresh take on Maugham's novel The Painted Veil, from a crisp script by Philadelphia screenwriter Ron Nyswaner, is sober and delicate but downright buoyant compared to a dull 1934 adaptation starring a miscast Greta Garbo, and a 1957 remake, The Seventh Sin, that tanked on arrival. Edward Norton makes a pretty impressive stiff himself as Walter, a research doctor who, after marrying up and badly to bored socialite Kitty (a suitably brittle Naomi Watts), moves to Shanghai, where he immerses himself in the study of infectious disease while she immerses herself in a caddish vice-consul (Liev Schreiber). Galvanized out of his insipid servility by jealous rage, Walter hauls the missus off to a cholera-ridden rural outpost, where the two gradually defrost in mutual devotion to duty. Bolstered by a strong ensemble — Infamous's Toby Jones as a deputy commissioner gone native, and a wonderfully wrinkled Diana Rigg — and by the ecstatic cinematography of Stuart Dryburgh, The Painted Veil lifts Maugham's story clear of its prissy, attenuated spirituality and into genuine passion. (Ella Taylor) PF

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Latest in Film Listings

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation