Remarkably, Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, which premiered in 2015 and sat on a shelf until this weekend, is the farthest thing from a success story a movie can be.Featuring quite possibly career-worst work for everybody involved (and I’m including Robert Pattinson in that), Queen of the Desert is a remarkably boring film that fails on practically every single level. Even the stodgiest biopic would be redeemed by Herzog’s eye. Nicole Kidman plays the Queen in the title. She mixed in the best society being very well connected socially, and also enjoyed the company of many intellectuals of the day. Franco is lost in the period trappings. I believe that Queen of The Desert is greater than the sum of its parts, and that its parts are inspired to begin with. I wish more people were able to appreciate beauty. Early in “Queen of the Desert,” Gertrude Bell’s father recounts a story to her about her first words spoken as a child that encompasses the entirety of her identity and disposition. And while Kidman is dedicated to the role, this is one of her most pallid performances in recent memory. Some very vague spoilers ( I really tried not to say anything that one does not know, if you know something about G.Bell's life). Before this I was a huge Herzog fan, which is why this film is such a bizarre shock. It was unheard of and yet she did it. The lugubrious voiceover provides no deeper understanding of Bell. But that there is no blistering chemistry, no charm, no intensity in the romantic storylines makes matters worse. In scenes set in 1906, the characters display this foreknowledge that there will be a World War when at the time, virtually everyone thought that would be an impossibility. Thereby making the transition to life after the Ottoman Empire peaceful and firmly undergirded. I’d rather further explore Bell’s inquisitiveness than watch Kidman try (and fail) to convince us that she’s in enamored with James Franco, who plays the first love interest Henry Cadogan. Instead I was left with questions. A marvelous tale of an adventurous life of great historical import. External Reviews Yes, she was born to a wealthy family, had a brilliant mind, earned a first class degree at Oxford - even attending Oxford was a rarity for a woman at that time. Despite the rich biographical material of the real-life woman on which this is based and the skill of the filmmakers involved, “Queen of the Desert” ends up being an emotionally empty, thematically ill-defined, and listless affair. For Bell it, comes across as both, given what’s sacrificed at the altar of her pursuit of, intellectual and professional desires. Angelica Jade Bastién is a Chicago based critic and essayist. Should I go to the grocery store or just order a pizza. 438 reviews. Online reviewers have written 643 reviews, giving The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) an average rating of 76%. Unfortunately, it’s given only cursory interest in various one-liners about Bell’s independence or in the simplistically rendered showdowns she has with powerful men, as if that is enough. User Ratings It moved along a little slow in some parts, nice storyline. “Queen of the Desert” demonstrates how staid a biopic can become when it forgets the icons at its center were also once human beings teeming with dreams, sins yearnings and contradictions. I watched it twice. The narrative tracks her life and travels leading up to her collaboration with Winston Churchill (Christopher Fulford) in mapping the borders of Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. This is a story for women. She’s a vision of perfection. I think the majority of the blame has to go to Herzog's screenplay because this is a film about one of the most interesting women in the world and yet there's nothing interesting about her told here. Apparently, when her nanny tried to put her in a dress she pushed the woman away and proudly exclaimed “On my own!” Bell is quickly established as an impetuous, headstrong, and intelligent woman, disregarding social mores at every turn. The story begins in 1898 as Bell (played by Nicole Kidman) rankles her parents with desires of exploring the world and challenging herself intellectually instead of finding the appropriate suitor. For Bell it comes across as both, given what’s sacrificed at the altar of her pursuit of intellectual and professional desires. Most reviewers missed the mark on this one, although in a commercial sense it probably won't be successful because it will fly over the heads of typical audiences, especially in the U.S. Whenever he wasn’t onscreen I forgot he was in the film altogether. Queen Of The Desert Review Great performances and that Werner Herzog flare make for a well-made biography. This is again a cheap movie they serve us. This is a long, pretty uneventful boring movie. Very nice movie. | It takes more than a sweeping score, beautiful cinematography, and drawn out narrative to make an engaging star vehicle. A Remarkable Human, a Remarkable Life, Too Bad Hollywood Ruined It, About as Bland and Lifeless As You Can Get. At one point Bell says in voiceover, “For the first time in my life I know who I am.” By the end of the film I still didn’t. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was released in 1994 and has generally received very positive reviews. If this was edited down just a bit the film would have been so much better. "Queen of the Desert" is so focused on Bell's romantic life that it fails to develop anything else about her. International upheaval, as viewed from the intimate vantage point of a historical figure as enchanting and modern feeling as Bell, gives the filmmakers a variety of avenues to explore. It isn't quite enough, though. Bell’s more interesting romantic entanglement that bookends the film is with Charles Doughty-Wylie (an intriguing Damian Lewis), a married British Army officer. But instead of heightening Kidman’s qualities—her luminescence, chilliness, and finely wrought emotional intelligence—“Queen of the Desert” flattens these traits. In QUEEN OF THE DESERT, Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman) lives in England near the turn of the 20th century. But it is not a work of genius--not because it isn't great but because Herzog failed to dumb it down for average movie-going audiences. It’s clear Herzog is trying to craft “Queen of the Desert” within the lineage of the traditional star vehicle. Well, both were right, but while the madness made Kinski a genius actor, the cluelessness made Herzog an insufferably bad director. The decision to focus on Bell’s romantic life as the core of the story could be more worthwhile if any characters had a psychological richness to them. Grizfolk is an alternative rock band based in Los Angeles and Nashville with its roots in Sweden. Queen of the Desert captures how bold Bell was to travel around the Middle East by herself at the turn of the century. This a movie that elevates the spirit and expands your horizons. Ambition, particularly for women, is a tricky attribute. So many things about this film are beyond beautiful, they are sublime. Ambition, particularly for women, is a tricky attribute. The acting was hackneyed and Nicole Kidman, though trying very hard, was totally unconvincing. At times, she’s lit in a way that her blonde hair radiates as if a halo making her seem even more angelic. Having worked in Saudi Arabia, I was really looking forward to this film. This is already a curious decision on its own. A film worth seeing, explains the birth of present middle east. By David Duprey On Apr 13, 2017. Movie Reviews TV Reviews Roundtables Podcasts 'Queen of the Desert': Berlin Review ... Queen of the Desert is a pedestrian retelling of an extraordinary life, more often starchy than stirring. "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Historically it was dreadful (starting in 1914 and then "going back" 12 years - by my simply maths this is 1902 - to have a toast to Queen Victoria by an embassy official is nonsense since she had died in 1901!) The dynamic he develops with Kidman is neither a convincing portrait of passion nor an evocation of two intellectual equals coming together. In forming such a reverential biopic the humanity of these characters and Herzog's own wildness are whittled away, leaving the mere husk of a more interesting story behind. Currently, women’s ambition is at a premium. Both Lewis and Pattinson bring very different energies, leading their scenes to intermittently spark with a much-needed liveliness. "Queen of the Desert" — 1.5 stars MPAA rating: … QUEEN OF THE DESERT isn't as awful as some people have made it out to be but at the same time you can't help but call it a complete misfire on many levels. Queen Of The Desert, review: Werner Herzog's film is like a feminist Lawrence of Arabia. It’s seen in the marketing of brands, the recently erected bronze “Fearless Girl” statue in Wall Street, and explored in recent works like "Big Little Lies." Queen of the Desert, 2015. She was respected, admired and desired. has with powerful men, as if that is enough. It’s a worthwhile subject matter to, explore. Even the title of this movie is a failure! I don't know if Werner Herzog wanted to make a Hollywood-style period romance, and it doesn't matter to me whether anyone else thinks he achieved creating one or not. That she’s a woman in the late 1800s, when the story begins, yearning to explore the world rather than be saddled with an ill-suited marriage makes her all the more remarkable. Her biography was far more interesting than this tripe that the director wanted to go who knows where. She went on to scale the Matterhorn in 1904. Bell also has a lovely (and blessedly platonic) rapport with colleague, T.E. Now that is a woman who has LIVED in the desert, and loved it. Bell is a fascinating historical figure and Herzog treats her with respect and does not patronise his audience. One of the biggest mistakes of “Queen of the Desert” is in not interrogating the, nature of Bell’s ambition. Berlin Film Review: ‘Queen of the Desert’ Nicole Kidman plays the explorer Gertrude Lowthian Bell in Werner Herzog's compelling but dramatically underpowered epic. Sadly, Queen of the Desert isn’t Herzog at his best. This film was an attractive costume drama which would not have been out of place on Masterpiece Theater, but anyone familiar with Gertrude Bell's achievements and who has read the book 'Desert Queen', will be disappointed at how much was left out. Starring Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Damian Lewis, Robert Pattinson, … Adding a Lawrence character was almost a charade. I think the majority of the blame has to go to Herzog's screenplay because this is a film about one of the most interesting women in the world and yet there's nothing interesting about her told here. It is a modern account with elements that are reminiscent of an older style of cinema. Kinski loathed Herzog. Nicole is not Lawrence. Not that Queen is a perfect film: it’s not. Capturing the complexity of a desert past, The More the World Changes, the More the Middle East Remains the Same. Yes, she fell in love with Henry Cadogan and mourned his death for seven years. Insightful film into why the Middle East is structured as it is. Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert is the least Herzogian film of his career. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is a fantastic movie with a very well developed plot and an outstanding cast. This movie will leave you blissful and hopeful after watching it so beautiful. Jules Goes to Therapy in Her Own Special Episode of Euphoria, HBO's Painting with John is a Magnetic Celebration of Arts and Artists, The Nostalgia of Epix's Bridge and Tunnel is Filled with Wrong Turns, The Sister Sacrifices Logic, Tension as Its Twists Unravel. It’s, seen in the marketing of brands, the recently erected bronze “Fearless Girl”, statue in Wall Street, and explored in recent works like ", This gives Bell’s struggle between her own desires and social constraints a timely, quality. But has there ever been a time accepting women this fearsome, bright, and independent? for brief nudity and some thematic elements. | The legendary German director is never able to find the right balance between the romantic melodrama and the sweeping historical drama making Queen of the Desert one of his weaker efforts. Obviously the director of this movie does not understand the context of the middle east and he is taking this part of the world as a bulk and treating it as a whole. You will be glad you spent two hours watching this movie, preferably with you significant other or a friend, as you will want to talk to somebody about it. The band is Adam Roth (lead vocals, guitar), Sebastian Fritze (keys and vocals), Fredrik Eriksson (guitar), and Bill Delia (drums). Her dutiful devotion and love for her parents may have caused her later infatuations and unrequited love for the wrong men. See Fantastic sandune-scapes and the prettiest camels ever screened to fill out this vast portrait of the Middle East in World War I when the lines in the sand were drawn which stake out today's Arab Spring Nightmare. More than anything they require a strong personality and point of view from both director and star, which is regrettably in short supply here. The film briefly flirts with the idea that maybe Bell was simply born in the wrong time. What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow. A visionary feast and both Nicole Kidman and James Franco's acting is superb.Most critics didn't give it a thumbs up but for me it was a beautiful film, maybe because the lead was a woman who changed the course of history! I love her don't get me wrong, but that was beyond any sense of reality. Queen of the Desert breaks form with several other Herzog movies: A female lead character, a grand Hollywood-like production and most interesting: a different perspective on the culture-nature dichotomy and the effects of cultural distance that almost forms the core of Herzog's work. For a movie with so much heart, “Queen of the Desert” is a remarkably bloodless enterprise. But perfection isn’t interesting in a biopic such as this; it’s a death knell. Queen of the Desert has the note of a travelogue about it -- that is to say, it feels well-travelled, but not well-lived. This is the man that has her so undone after seeming so sure of her own independence? If you see it that way, well, I can't help you. Gertrude Bell is one of the most remarkable people (of either sex) to have ever lived...but you wouldn't know it from this film. Lots of desert scenes which seemed more Hollywood cute than a sweaty gritty actual depiction. While the people around her cringingly toast to the British Empire with little care to the colonization that makes their wealth possible, Bell genuinely cares for the people she crosses in her travels through the Middle East. It was as though Werner Herzog had suddenly become a pupil of Josh Boone, which is like Mozart taking lessons from Justin Bieber. Although it's not Lawrence of Arabia, and Robert Pattinson suffers from O'Toole comparison, director Werner Herzog still brings to life the hitherto little-known heroine, Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman).