Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse, Daphne Du Maurier (Novel)
Stars: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristen Scott Thomas
Release Date: October 21, 2020
Well this movie really went off the deep end fast.
Rebecca is a stylized romantic tale that strides to be impactful and profound in its story and portrayal. Lily James plays a young lady that is swept off her feet by a Maxim de Winter, played by Armie Hammer. The two are quick to fall for one another, but the recent Mrs. de Winter soon discovers that her new husband and the house she now inhabits holds secrets that are not of the wholesome variety. Mrs. de Winter attempts to unweave the emotions of her new husband and the politics of her new home all while under the shadow of the Maxim’s deceased first wife, Rebecca.
Rebecca looks incredible, but once you get passed Manderley’s exterior and the English architecture, there are more than a few problems with this movie. For one, the concept of pace seems utterly foreign. This movie is a slow moving, fairly entertaining methodical tense drama for like the first hour, but then comes the madness of the final third. Once the sunken boat of Rebecca is found, and Maxim de Winter has to go to court, the story crumbles under its weak footing.
Rebecca strives to have a sense of dread of romantic depression about it, but it delves too deep into the soap opera bog. So much happens in such a short amount of time that it can only be the envy of Days Of Our Lives.
Next problem with Rebecca is a question. What happened to Armie Hammer? In 2017 he had Call Me By Your Name, then in 2018 he was in Sorry To Bother You. But really since he had a rocket ship attached his back in those two years, Hammer has been sputtering towards the ground and is struggling to stay pm a straight course. It is nothing against the man, but Hammer really needs to have Death On The Nile be a reinvigorating hit.
In terms of Hammer in Rebecca, he looked like he was on cruise control. It’s understood that Maxim de Winter is a emotionally repressed man, but there was nothing charismatic about his character. The screenplay may have limited whatever emotional expression Hammer was allowed to act out, but as playing the lead, it falls upon his feet to try and bring the most out of it, and he fails to meet that mark.
This is where personal bias may seep in, but Lily James makes the most of a tough situation playing Mrs. de Winter. This is strictly a Stanko note, but I loved her in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) and she was only charming part of Yesterday (2019). Not to mention Baby Driver (2017). Now in Rebecca, her character is given the most to react to because she is the fish out of water. Thrown into the realm of house servants and high class, Mrs. de Winter has an arc as a character. BUT, her arc is like a roller coaster ride that has the accelerants and brakes all messed up. The aforementioned uneven pace of Rebecca really messes with whatever impact Lily James has on the movie, but its commendable that she at least lifted the sledgehammer at the carnival.
Rebecca is the second disappointing Ben Wheatley film. Free Fire (2017) had a phenomenal idea and cast but failed to reach its potential, and now the same *insert shrug emoji* feeling can be pinned to Rebecca. Looking at his IMDB, he has two sequels coming up that are follow ups to movies that were better than they had any right to be: Tomb Raider 2 and Meg 2: The Trench. Please don’t have the same trend we are seeing form!
Skip Rebecca unless you want to look at some pretty people and scenery and be bored of a story despite an overwhelming amount happening.
Stanko Rating: D+ (2.0/5 Stars)