Diana is not as terrible as many would have you believe – but it’s still not a very good movie (to be fair, it is pretty bad). Oliver Hirschbiegel’s film purports to tell the true story behind the love affair between Princess Diana (Naomi Watts) and heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews). It’s a tonally confused piece that at times feels more like a fish out of water romantic comedy than a biopic with a tragic ending.
It’s difficult to say who is to blame here. The performances are just too broad to be convincing as being based on real people, but they aren’t helped by Stephen Jeffrey’s screenplay (adapted from Kate Snell’s book Diana: Her last Love). Jeffrey has written some terrible dialogue – lines which I would quote in verbatim here, but it means i’d have to revisit the film. Maybe what he wrote reads well on the page, but it sure as hell doesn’t translate to the screen.
There’s no doubt that Oliver Hirschbiegel can direct a good film – Downfall and Five Minutes Of Heaven attest to that. However, he seems to be very inconsistent. This is up there with Invasion as another terribly delivered film, filled with wasted talent. You’d think Nicole Kidman would have warned her good friend Watts to sit this one out. Although it appears the duo have princess fever – Kidman is playing Grace Kelly in the forthcoming Grace Of Monaco (which seems to be an equally bad idea).
Considering that Diana is a film that criss-crosses the globe, everyone about the film feels very constrained. The visuals fail to rise above television level and cinematographer Rainer Klausmann makes even the most exotic location feel dreary. Maybe he was trying to get across Diana’s inner sadness by creating visuals to match – but this is the movies – make it look good.
At times Diana comes across as Bridget Jones Goes To Kensington Palace, with Naveen Andrews standing-in for Colin Firth. If that was the case then this may have been fun. The fact that it’s positioned as a searing drama (which had Oscar potential) makes it all the more ludicrous. There are misfires and then there is Diana.
The Diana blu-ray comes with some decent interview snippets with those responsible for the film. Everyone appears to have had noble intentions and it would be interesting to know they really thought about the finished product.