Tulip Fever: Film Review
Cast: Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Christoph Waltz, Cara Delevingne, Holliday Grainger, Jack O'Connell, Tom Hollander, Judi Dench
Director: Justin Chadwick
Forever destined to be known as the film disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein left on the shelf for 3 years and also the first film to be released by the Weinstein Company post Weinstein's spectacular fall from grace, Tulip Fever is something of a tonal mess.
Future Tomb Raider star Alicia Vikander stars as Sofia in this period piece set in 17th century Amsterdam as the tulip market grows feverishly. Similar to the stock market, there's a great trade to be had in bulbs and speculation, and Sofia finds herself in the middle of it when she escapes the convent she's in by agreeing to be married off to Waltz's merchant.
With pressure to conceive, Sofia is found wanting and Waltz's Cornelis decides to commission a painting of the two of them from upcoming artist Jaan (DeHaan). But an illicit affair grows between the pair, culminating in tragedy for everyone in the house - including Grainger's maid and confidante and her lover (O'Connell).
It's hard to know exactly what Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) wanted to do exactly with Tom Stoppard's mashed together screenplay.
From period drama, romance, farce and finally on to inevitable tragedy, the film flip-flops so badly and bounces between different genres that you get cinematic whiplash watching on.
It's not like any of the cast (with the exception sadly of DeHaan and Delevingne who prove to be the weakest links here) give it anything but their best and throw themselves into it with gusto. But a lack of coherence and cohesion proves to make this narrative bulb wilt and wither as its inevitable formulaic tropes are systematically ticked off.
Inevitably what emerges from Tulip Fever is a Carry On style drama film that even Shakespeare would have dismissed as too light for his attention.
And despite Vikander's continuing allure and dramatic chops for every role she takes, the film's fatal flaw causes the whole house of cards to come crashing down around everyone's ears.