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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Jul 2014

Critic's review: Diana - Royal biopic or Royal mess?

Sony Sheetal Tirkey, Hindustantimes.com  New Delhi, October 04, 2013
First Published: 16:44 IST(4/10/2013) | Last Updated: 17:04 IST(4/10/2013)

Film: Diana
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Starring: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews, Cas Anvar

'Diana' was highly anticipated by critics this year but German film-maker Oliver Hirschbiegel has been bashed for letting everyone down and failing to either deliver or impress. Leaving a common bitter taste on the palates of film buffs across the globe, the story about the final years of the Princess of Wales has been received poorly worldwide.

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The 'Downfall' director's royal biopic has been receiving some of the worst reviews from the British media for the 'awful' portrayal of Diana (Naomi Watts) and Pakistani heart surgeon Dr Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) after her divorce from Prince Charles.

Time Entertainment's Catherine Mayer says: "The film is a royal mess.How could a movie with such an incredible story (the final years of Princess Diana) and such a fine actress (Naomi Watts) be so bad?"

An IANS review echoed on the same lines: "The film, dramatically bookended by scenes showing the buildup to Diana’s fatal car crash in Paris August 31, 1997, is basically a shallow docudrama."

While stating that the royal biopic has gone horribly wrong CNN-IBN's Rajeev Masand shelled out only 1.5 out of 5 stars.

"Shot like a low-budget television soap, its script lacking depth, its performances unmistakably affected, the film is a disappointment, except in those moving scenes that remind us of her selfless humanitarian work."



Meanwhile some critic's felt Naomi Watts delivered a striking resemblance to the 'world's most enigmatic woman' but in totality the film fails to either do justice or tell the tale of the 'people's princess' as the acclaimed actress lets down her audience.

India Today's Rohit Khilnani says: "Diana is not a bad film but the problem is that the Princess of Wales deserves a lot better."

The Independent's Anthony Quinn added: "The central failure is its desperate inability to make her even interesting," and "Watts's incarnation of the Princess is so wan and flat you wonder how anyone  fell for her at all."

Some critics however did not show any mercy and downrightly reject Hirschbiegel's latest biopic attempt, terming it 'cheap and cheerless.'

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw called the film "an excruciatingly well-intentioned, reverential and sentimental biopic about her troubled final years, laced with bizarre cardboard dialogue".

The Observer's Mark Kermode nodded in agreement labelling it as "a film which has neither backbone nor teeth, swerving drearily between hagiography ('I just want to help people!') and hapless cod romance, interspersed with hokey landmine photo-ops and scenic cultural detours through Lahore".

"Oliver Hirschbiegel’s movie is a special class of awful - too frivolous for offence, too epically miscalculated to add to our understanding. On the plus side, it’s hysterical," said Tim Robey of the Telegraph.

According to the Guardian, 'the film opened in fifth place at the UK box office last weekend with £623,000 and this week dropped to No 9. Nevertheless, producers have sold the movie to distributors in more than 40 countries around the world and it is due to open in the US on 1 November.'

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