William (Cillian Murphy): No harm will ever come to you, not from me; not from anyone else – not when I’m here.. No word of mine will ever hurt you.
Vera: (Keira Knightley): Sounds like a vow.
At a glance:
This British World War Two story of the lives and loves of Dylan Thomas suffers from an emotional detachment led by the ice queen herself, Keira Knightley, who once again seems unable to play an aloof character that can still connect with the audience
Dylan Thomas’ first love, the detached singer Vera (Keira Knightley) is the focus of this British World War II drama about lives, loves, and poetry. Accurately evokes the period including having basically everyone smoke like chimneys); the snippets of Thomas poems are captivating, but if you are unfortunate, as I was, to not connect with any of the main four characters, the first 40 minutes of the film will seem tedious. Knightley is beautiful as always, and her character is supposed to be aloof, which is a perfect role for her. The problem, as with all her performances, is that all she offers is porcelain-doll aloofness – eventually, her character does unfold, but early on she gives the audience no emotion to latch on to. Where is does succeed is in telling the deterioration of returning war hero William (Cillian Murphy).
I found the ‘multiple funhouse mirror’ love scene both confusing and conflicting; I wanted to be aroused, but was too afraid that I might find the arousal was being caused by a bit of Cillian Murphy’s body, and not Keira Knightley’s – so I opted out. :)
Other reviewers said:
"Dylan Thomas's life is represented here, but John Maybury's hollow romantic drama is more interested in his women than in his literary art."
- Des Partridge (Courier Mail [Australia])
"While the period drama has several redeeming features, tonally it's all over the map, veering between artsy stylization and hum-drum, sometimes almost twee melodrama."
- Leslie Felperin (Variety)