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I have read about Gertrude Bell, but this movie was rather sappy. Perhaps with a younger actress than Nicole Kidman.
I selected the movie for the actors, so I did not realize until the end this was based on truth. The movie itself was beautiful. No, it was not full of exciting action, but it kept my interest throughout. Now I want to read the biography of Gertrude Bell. How is it that I did not know about this amazing woman?
The viewer soon grows tired of the absurdities and outright errors that run from the beginning to the very end of this uninvolving movie by the highly regarded Werner Herzog. Gertrude Bell is a legendary figure out of history who sadly deserved a more fitting film.
A movie with three levels. Enjoy it was a travelogue, a memoir, a drama. Most of all, enjoy it for its visual presentation; superb cinematography of some of the world's most forbidding landscapes--and over 1,500 extras.
What and who is it about? Gertrude Bell. Star Nicole Kidman called her "the female Lawrence of Arabia. She was English, and basically defined the borders between Iraq and Jordan that exist today, borders that she negotiated between Churchill and different Arab leaders. She went out to the desert with the Bedouin and all the different tribes that were feuding at the turn of the 20th century."
The film--which infamous director Werner Herzog won the right to direct against Ridley Scott--was an uncontested commercial flop (It cost $36 million to make and theatre tickets brought in a mere $2 million) and something of a critical failure, too.
Want fast-paced action? You won't find it here...this one moves at the pace of a dromedary--one reason why the critics hated it. One called it a "passionless trudge."
It's not the first commercial failure Herzog has made--some failures are fascinating and memorable--and, thanks in no small measure to his long-time cameraman, Peter Zeitlinger, Queen of the Desert is one I'll remember.
Movie is based on extraordinary life story, but retold in very ordinary way. Moves very slowly, followed with very quiet dialogue. Music is appropriate and nice, costumes as well. This movie you will forget, but you will remember Gertrude Bell's story.
For this movie I make no claim of rights or capacity to assess the history of the Beduins, know anything about the bio of the heroin, let alone care for perfect accents, and therefore have no arcing bolts of lightning for who should play what part. Thus, am a pitiful critic. What I noticed was a constant underlying love and appreciation of, and striving for deeper understanding for, the culture(s) of the people(s) of the Mid-East, and possibly some concern for how "foreigners" to the desert might work with them to develop a more peaceful shared respect. In this, I think Kidman's soft voice, gracious manner, copious knowledge-gathering mind, went well with with her obviously physically tough nature. And when I think of it, what better combination would win the respect of men who respected culture while having to be so ready to do combat? In any case, this is about someone who always did her homework before she entered into a situation, and when she couldn't outwit, she could soothe with the poetry of the culture of whom she was meeting. Thanks to the previous comments so I'd know where to begin with this. And, by the way, I want the soundtrack! :-)
Started to watch this movie, but was distracted. Took it back without watching. Maybe next time!
The film, limited to under 130 minutes, succeeded to pique my interest to learn more about the trailblazer of a woman who is celebrated in modern Arabic history along with her contemporary T. E. Lawrence. Beautiful cinematography including the "flaming gorge" Al Siq at Petra and Arab actors in Arab roles. Well worth a watch and to explore her bio further.
2nd half of movie is much better! I agree with most comments that it does make me want to know more of Gertrude Bell. It is an interesting story and the scenery is beautiful!
It could have been so much better. Casting leaves something to be desired. James Franco can not affect a British accent to save his soul. Robert Pattinson is wasted in the role of TE Lawrence. Damien Lewis is the one true Brit along with the rest of the supporting cast of Brits. And sadly Nicole Kidman seems utterly misplaced in both her role and in this film. The desert and mountains alone are amazing. Herzog has made better films. But, the main problem is that the script is cliche ridden and stereotypical with emotions - it does not flow nor give the actors much in the way of letting them develop their characters.
Another story from history that does not seem to make it into our lessons. We know of Lawrence of Arabia and Winston Churchill and their roles in the Middle East, but such an amazing woman is not given credit. This beautiful cinematic portrayal makes me want to read more about Gertrude Bell!! Highly recommend, Kristi & Abby Tabby.
Well, at least it looks good. The desert scenes are terrific and some of the acting is very good (Masterpiece Theatre fans will recognize several actors), but the whole thing doesn't add up to a whole lot. Too much emphasis on Gertrude Bell's romantic entanglements and not enough on her role in Middle Eastern politics and her impact on historical events that lingers today.
I hear there is a very good documentary on G.B coming out later this year and hope it's available from the library. I think I will enjoy that more than this film (did I mention the desert scenes are spectacular?!).