The White Countess
It's down to the cast to make this film great rather than good, and they succeed where lesser actors would fail.
It's ironic that this film can boast three members of the Redgrave dynasty in the roles of neglected aristocracy, yet reduces them to secondary players. Set in 1930s Shanghai, Natasha Richardson plays the White Countess, hired by blind former Ambassador Ralph Fiennes to work as a hostess in his ideal bar. The melodrama of all the intertwining relationships plays out in the foreground with genuine class, against the background of the Japanese invasion. The plot moves carefully forward with real emotion, and when the Redgraves are finally given their chances to shine, they do so with real aplomb, as you would expect. It's down to the cast to make this film great rather than good, and they succeed where lesser actors would fail. A little too slow for some, but a refreshing change from the usual sound and fury of modern cinema. [Graham McIntosh]
This film is out now.