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The Films of John Curran

Praise

We Don't Live Here Anymore

The Painted Veil

Stone

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Chappaquiddick (March 28/18)

Based on true events, Chappaquiddick details Ted Kennedy's (Jason Clarke) involvement in a car accident that kills a loyal supporter named Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara) - with the slow-moving narrative following Kennedy's continuing efforts at deflecting blame for the tragic crash. Director John Curran, working from Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan's screenplay, has infused Chappaquiddick with a preponderance of overtly positive attributes, including an artful visual style and several top-notch performances, and yet the movie remains wholly unable to capture one's interest for virtually the entirety of its plodding, padded-out runtime - with the less-than-engrossing atmosphere compounded by a midsection overflowing with tedious elements (ie the emphasis on Kennedy and his aides' efforts at covering up the truth just isn't as engaging or captivating as Curran has surely intended). Curran's lackadaisical approach ultimately proves disastrous, to be sure, as large swaths of Chappaquiddick suffer from a lifelessness that both proves oppressive and prevents the viewer from connecting to the characters - which certainly mutes the potential impact of the film's final stretch and ensures that the whole thing concludes on a decidedly anticlimactic note. There is, in the end, exceedingly little within Chappaquiddick that wholeheartedly works, and it does seem, finally, that one would be better off just reading the Wikipedia entry rather than enduring this pervasively inert drama.

out of

© David Nusair