PLOT: The life of pioneering female pilot Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank), from her first flight across the Atlantic, to her mysterious disappearance over the Pacific years later.
REVIEW: Mira Nairs AMELIA would seem to be the type of film that has everything going for it. The pedigree is superb, with it being directed by Nair, whos MONSOON WEDDING is considered a classic by some, and her last film, THE NAMESAKE, while somewhat overlooked when it came out, was excellent. The cast is top notch, boasting big names like dual Academy Award winner Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, and Ewan McGregor.
It also has a fantastic musical score by Gabriel Yared, which calls to mind the work of composer John Barry. Finally, it also happens to have a very compelling central figure in Amelia Earhart, whose disappearance over the Bermuda Triangle remains an obsession among conspiracy theorists. Surely, it would be a shoo-in for a lot of critical acclaim, and a whole slew of Oscar nominations, but over the last few months, theres hasnt been a heck of a lot of buzz around the film, and after finally seeing it for myself, I can see why.
The problem is, despite its pedigree, the film just never really comes together. It just all struck me as a little bland, and, god forbid- boring, which is the last thing a film about a pioneering pilot like Earhart should be. To be fair, the part of the film dealing with her flying isnt bad, but the film really (forgive the pun) crashes and burns whenever Earharts out of the cockpit. Her romance with husband George Putnam isnt developed very well, and her affair with Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor) - father of writer Gore Vidal, is similarly underdeveloped- and comes out of nowhere.
One thing that cant be argued is that Swank makes a great Earhart, with her resemblance to the aviator downright uncanny at times. She also does a great job imitating her clipped way of speaking. That said, I couldnt help but compare her to Amy Adams portrayal of Earhart in NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2. To be sure, Swank gives a far more authentic performance, yet I must admit that I did not warm to her the way that I did to Adams. What Adams lacked in physical resemblance, she more than made up for in spirit, and thats the one thing that Swank might lack- the sense of wonder that Adams brought to the role, that for me anyways is one of the most underrated performances of the year. And steals a lot of Swanks thunder.
At any rate, I was very underwhelmed by AMELIA, which should have been a top-notch biopic, but, despite its many assets, never really took flight.