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.
filmIn Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 2 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer: What we know about JJ Abrams' film
Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Plebgate: Andrew Mitchell’s reputation in tatters as judge rules he used the word ‘pleb’