Rebecca is the next British love drama that Netflix will release on the 21st. October all over the world. Directed by Ben Wheatley are the stars Lily James, Army Hammer, Christine Scott Thomas, Tom Goodman Hill, Keeley Hawes, Sam Riley and Anne Dowd. The film is based on the gothic novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier from 1938 and was first filmed two years later when Alfred Hitchcock made a film of it in 1940.
For those who haven’t seen the original, the plot follows a newly married woman, Mrs. de Winter (Lily James), who is in the shadow of her husband’s late wife, Rebecca, who still seems to be stuck in a maternity ward on the English coast.
A few days ago I had the pleasure to watch the first adaptation of Hitchcock from 1940 while waiting for this remake, and I liked what Hitchcock had done. The black and white cinematography perfectly matches the Gothic aesthetics of the film, creating a strong, reflective atmosphere and a sense of evil that is always just below the surface, waiting for a crack.
From the beginning it is clear that Rebecca 2020 is a beautiful film, well done and very attractive. The landscape that was filmed next to the region of England where I live exudes a sense of wonder and beauty, because with every passing scene it draws the eye to itself. Ben Wheatley’s attempt to conquer England in the 1930s was formidable because he made perfect use of the landscape and gave each shot a beautiful colour palette that contrasted with the ever-increasing tension around the characters.
Just like the Hitchcock adaptation, all performances are fantastic. As Mrs. de Winter, Lily James does a great job throughout the film as her character begins to recognize what’s going on around her. With her, Christine Scott Thomas may be the best of her career as Mrs. Thomas. Danvers. She is (as always) everywhere on the canvas, because her character subtly manipulates the thoughts of Mrs. de Winter and at the same time strengthens the thoughts that can arise in the midst of the loss of a loved one.
But as you may have guessed, Armie Hammer, like Maxim de Winter, stands out from the rest. In the 1940 film adaptation of Hitchcock, Lawrence Olivier gave a great role in the male lead, and when I came to this film, I was especially afraid that Armie Hummer’s performance would be compared to this failed film. (It’s a lost battle to get into a position similar to Lawrence Olivier’s). And although his performance never reached the heights of Lawrence Olivier, he’s still doing a fantastic job and really captures the essence of the character. It’s a team, sensitive and tenacious in everything, and it’s a great cinema partner that makes it possible for Lily James to be in the foreground and in the middle of the stage and also to shine.
But even though this movie is generally very entertaining, my biggest problem with Rebecca is that we’ve seen almost everything. Although the film itself is changing so much that there are several new scenes and development points of a holistic character, the film continues to move from one point to another without much difference. I’m not saying it’s bad in itself, and having a modern version of Rebecca for the current broadcast landscape will certainly help to take a fresh look at the original version of Hitchcock (which you can now watch on YouTube!). Although you get the feeling this movie isn’t very fresh. Luckily, Wheatley’s talent as a director, combined with his strong acting performance, overcomes the disappointment throughout the film, and unlike other remakes, the film doesn’t seem completely useless.
Rebecca is one of the many potential nominees for this year’s Netflix awards, with films like Munk, The Trial of Chicago 7, The Devil and others. Although I think it will be the weakest of all movies and won’t win anything (let alone be nominated), it’s still a good film. With the release of the original Rebecca almost 80 years ago, Netflix has made a faithful adaptation of the original that changes so much that it is always interesting to watch for the public. Just like another recent Netflix remake, The Boys in the Band, it’s a movie that could have gone terribly wrong, but it didn’t, and fortunately it turned out pretty well.
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