Tracker Pixel for Entry

​“Tulip Fever” Wants to Bloom

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | September 13th, 2017

The snaky production history of the long delayed “Tulip Fever,” detailed most thoroughly in a “Telegraph” article by Adam White, proves more intriguing than the final version of the movie. Wilting in cinemas during a particularly painful Labor Day weekend, the arrestingly photographed period melodrama was at one time expected to attract award season accolades under the careful orchestration of Harvey Weinstein, apparently looking to duplicate some of his “Shakespeare in Love” success. Instead, Justin Chadwick’s film is a disheveled curiosity -- a bad movie that still manages to push a few buttons and convey some guilty pleasures.

Based on the novel by Deborah Moggach, who co-wrote the screen adaptation with Tom Stoppard, “Tulip Fever” uses the 17th century Dutch phenomenon of bulb speculation as a framework for a story of adultery and seemingly doomed romance, complete with mistaken identities, a conniving abbess, naval impressment, and a pregnancy switcheroo that topples the whole works into a laughable jumble that at times borders on self-parody. One can only imagine the scenes left on the cutting room floor, including those featuring Cara Delevingne, Matthew Morrison, and Kevin McKidd.

Alicia Vikander is orphan Sophia, the young wife selected to provide an heir to peppercorn king Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz). Trapped by her matrimonial bonds and irksome sexual chores, Sophia’s eyes light up when hungry artist Jan van Loos (Dane DeHaan) is commissioned by Cornelis to paint a family portrait. Before you can say “red ochre,” Sophia and Jan start a clandestine affair complicated when servant Maria (Holliday Grainger), who also narrates, discovers the deception. Maria, deeply in love with fishmonger William (Jack O’Connell), has some monumental troubles of her own, and Chadwick labors to keep all the wobbling plates spinning.

Had the promotional campaign of the movie embraced the comic instead of the tragic, “Tulip Fever” might have been more warmly received by critics and viewers. The film’s supremely silly, credulity-stretching artifices yield plenty of deliberate laughs, from Tom Hollander’s playful obstetrics quack to Waltz’s entreaties to command his little soldier to conjugal attention. But there are unintended guffaws as well. The ridiculousness finally collapses under the weight of a curiously cast Zach Galifianakis. In defiance of all common sense, his dipsomaniac Gerrit is perplexingly entrusted with a plot-turning task of grave importance -- the outcome of which is so immediately obvious it inspires groans of derision.

White summarizes the consensus opinion, noting that “Tulip Fever” has “been met with significant disdain, critics referencing clumsy edits, nonsensical plotting based almost entirely on coincidences and contrived leaps of logic, and the feel of a film cut to shreds in an editing room at the behest of worried producers.” Despite the accuracy of these assertions, “Tulip Fever” works up a bit of sweaty charm through a combination of the gorgeously imagined costumes by Michael O’Connor and production design by Simon Elliott, and the fantasy projections of cinephiles who will speculate on the “Tulip Fever” that never was: a proposed 2004 John Madden-helmed version starring Keira Knightley as Sophia, Jude Law as Jan, and Jim Broadbent as Cornelis.  

Recently in:

FARGO – Early Tuesday morning Captain Andrew Frobig seated himself at his office desk, quickly discovering that the jail count was up. About 76 people had been incarcerated over the long Veterans Day weekend bringing the total…

Best Bets

A Show for Joe

by HPR Staff

Sunday, November 25, 3-10pmSanctuary Event Center, 670 4th Ave. N, FargoA special benefit show for Joe Swegarten and his family. Joe sustained injuries from a hit and run accident this summer. Musicians from across the FM area band…

It's that time of the year when we’ve finally finished up our Halloween candy and started to deck the halls... but who’s rushing the season when it’s the season of the holiday rush? Here at HPR we’ve had shopping and…

The Third Reich—And Making A Country Great AgainI was in first grade in country school on November 9, 1938 when the Nazis, in avenging the assassination of a German embassy official in Paris by a 17-year-old Jewish youth, committed…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

Ah! The holidays are rushing at us, like well like an out of control, careening caravan. Time to start thinking about what to get the chef in the family for Christmas. The days of a new apron or oven mitt are over, or are they?An…

by Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.com With the kickoff of the holiday season (and the weather!) underway, it’s almost time for the annual holiday organ concerts at the Fargo Theatre. The concerts, put on as a partnership…

A long time ago (1977) in a galaxy far, far away (20th Century Fox) there was a film released called “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” George Lucas introduced the world to his Flash Gordon-inspired space opera featuring a…

by: Melissa Gonzalezmelissam.gonzalez@outlook.comFrom music, to sculpture, to grand scale murals, one local artist is working tirelessly to share his work with the community.The West Acres Mall is currently hosting its fifth…

by Stella Mehlhoffstellamehlhoff@gmail.com“Our mission is to invigorate civic conversation through intimate and transformative storytelling.” This statement posted on Theatre B’s website and tacked to their studio wall in…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

Beer Snob

Warm up with a hot toddy

by HPR Contributor

by Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.com Fall is once again upon us. The leaves are turning, gardens have been pulled, and Summer’s heat has waned into Autumnal frosts. Along with the change of seasons comes a change of seasonal flavors.…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

For all intents and purposes, the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party is bankrupt. North Dakota is now a one-party state. That’s sad. Because it wasn’t so long ago that we had an active two-party state government. Now the…