Jul 032006

Casanova.jpgHeath Ledger plays the fabled romantic as a man who, after failing to win the affection of a particular Venetian woman, strives to discover the real meaning of love.

Directed by
Lasse Hallstr?m

Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, Oliver Platt, Lena Olin, Omid Djalili, Stephen Greif, Ken Stott, Helen McCrory, Leigh Lawson, Tim McInnerny, Charlie Cox, Natalie Dormer, Philip Davis, Paddy Ward

We watched this on video last night.?This new take on the rake from Venice is best to enjoy when no comparisons with the real Casanova are made because this is clearly a comedy that has nothing to do with that man who was considered the best lover of all times.

Lasse Hallstrom has directed a film with great sense of visual style. What seems to work best is the screen play by Jeffrey Hatcher and Kimberly Simi. We are taken to Venice at the time of the Inquisition, but this movie, being a comedy, has nothing to do with the terror it caused on heretics and sinners.

Casanova, who has had his share of women is intrigued by the lovely, and intelligent, Francesca Bruni, a young lady of not great wealth who wants to be a writer to be reckoned with. Francesca loves to disguise herself as man who is a scholar in order to participate in all things where she is not welcomed. Casanova discovers her secret and he casts his net in order to snare the beautiful Francesca.

Things get complicated because Casanova has asked the hand of the blonde beauty, Victoria, the daughter of Donato, a wealthy Venetian. To complicate things, Giovanni, Francesca’s brother lusts after the beautiful Victoria from his window, across the street. To make matters worst, Francesca has a fianc? who is coming into town for the winter carnival. Paprizzio, the king of lard making in Italy, is a rotund figure to boot. Since Casanova gets to him as he arrives, he starts his own plan in disguising himself as Paprizzio, in order to get to Francesca, who detests Casanova.

When the man in charge of the Inquisition, Pucci, arrives in Venice, he makes it his priority to get Casanova, who is too clever to get himself caught by the cardinal. Later, though, when everything is revealed, Casanova redeems himself for taking the blame for having written the books that Pucci has deemed to be a heresy. At all ends well in a turn of events that save Casanova and Francesca from a sure death.

The surprise of “Casanova” is Oliver Platt. His take on the vain fat man, Paprizzio, is one of the funniest roles he has played on the screen in quite some time. Jeremy Irons is also excellent as Pucci, the evil man that sees heresy and sin everywhere. Natalie Dormer and Charlie Cox do also good work as Victoria and Giovanni. Omid Djalili is fun to watch as Lupo, Casanova’s loyal servant.

“Casanova” has a great musical score by Alexander Desplat who interlaced some of the beautiful music of the period with his own and it’s a joy to hear it in the background. Oliver Stapleton’s cinematography does wonders in creating the illusion of the Venice of the period. Jenny Beavan’s costumes reflect the era in which the action takes place.

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