Bottle Shock: Movie Review
Cast: Bill Pullman, Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, Freddy
Rodriguez, Dennis Farina
Director: Randall Miller
Based on a true story, Bottle Shock (one of the contenders for worst film
title of the year) is the account of how, in the 1970s, a British ex-pat Steven
Spurrier (Alan Rickman), living in France, decided to travel to the then unknown
Napa Valley to see if there were wines which could compete against the best the
French had on offer.
Once he gets to Napa Valley, he has a chance meeting with struggling Chateau
Montelena vintner Jim Barrett (the ever wonderful Bill Pullman) and realizes
there is plenty to tap into.
However, Barrett and the rest of the would-be vintners scattered around the
region are not sure how to take Spurrier and initially begin to fleece him.
Barrett has his own problems - the acres of land he owns are mortgaged upto
the hilt and if his latest attempt to crack the industry fails, he'll lose
Throw into that mix Bo Barrett, Jim's son (Chris Pine from Star Trek) a hippy
who's still living the Woodstock life, and it's easy to see why everything could
come crashing around their ears.
Bottle Shock is beautifully shot (with rolling footage of vines and acres of
land - which will see it do well in New Zealand) - and has a wonderful character
whimsy about it.
Granted, it's not the most earth shattering of stories - even if it is based
on events back in the 1970s which saw the wine world open up to tipples outside
of the French Riviera. It could do with a bit of editing as well as it feels a
little like it's dragging towards the end.
But Bottle Shock has an easy laid back charm - and is essentially about
coming to accept your place in the world - or doing something to ensure that
position changes; it's about fathers and sons, ambition and self belief,
independents and the big players and competition among friends.
Don't dismiss it because of its title (although it is a term associated with
the wine industry) - Bottle Shock deserves to do well in New Zealand - many
Kiwis will associate with the have a go mentality on display as well as the
roguish element of youth.