9. THE PAINTED VEIL
(Photo and poster: Warner Independent Pictures)
By Omar P.L. Moore/The Popcorn Reel
John Curran's film is a contained and tranquil vision of a troubled British upper-crust married couple in 1925. Starring Naomi Watts and Edward Norton (pictured above), the film explodes to life after a plodding, unremarkable first 45 minutes when the very stubborn and emotionally-closed off Walter (Norton) compels his upper-class wife Kitty (Watts) to come to Shanghai with him as he volunteers as a fledgling doctor to help stem a horrific cholera plague that has ravaged the city's inhabitants and its surrounding areas. As the challenge of containing the plague grows, the gulf between the antagonist spouses narrows. Based on W. Somerset Maugham's classic novel, "The Painted Veil" is a film that grows on you. Beautiful cinematography, impeccable costume design and exquisite acting from Watts and particularly Norton, with Toby Jones ("Infamous"), Liev Schreiber ("The Omen") and Diana Rigg ("The Avengers").
The PopcornReel.com "The Painted Veil" film review first appeared on December 29, 2006.