First Night: Confession of a Child of the Century, Cannes Festival
Doherty is perfectly cast as 19th-century dandy
Tabloid bad boy Pete Doherty is perfectly cast in French director Sylvie Verheyde's Alfred de Musset adaptation, Confession of a Child of the Century.
In the film (which screened in Cannes this weekend), he plays Octave, a world- weary roué in 1830s France. Pale-faced, and with top hat and cane, he projects an air of decadence and debauchery. In his voice-over, he delivers one-liners expressing his despair at the world.
In essence, then, Doherty (who arrived in Cannes today with co-star Lily Cole) is playing a 19th century version of himself – and he does it very well. He is understated, sardonic but has a vulnerability that stops him from seeming (too) obnoxious. The problems with an uneven film are not of his making.
Verheyde (among few women with films in Cannes this year) recreates the 1830s in inventive fashion. She pays attention to costume and production design but doesn't allow the film to be dragged down by the period detail.
With its accordion music and inventive camera work, the film is pleasing enough to watch. But it is a love story conspicuously short on passion.
After the death of his father, Octave heads to the country where he meets and falls in love with Brigitte (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a widow 10 years older than him. He woos her, eventually wearing her down by faking his suicide. Here the film, until now intriguing and enigmatic, threatens to stall.
There is little rapport between Doherty and Gainsbourg, a tremendous actress who gives a strangely lifeless performance. The ennui the lovers feel is liable to be felt by the audience too.
Confession of a Child of the Century works well enough as a portrait of a dandy struggling to overcome his despairing attitude to life. But the film is so slow burning that it threatens to fizzle out.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture