UK Release Date: 4th May 2011
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 15th April 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is not the type of film I would usually choose watch, but I decided that since it got a reasonable response from the critics when it came out, I’d give it a look. I guess you have to broaden your horizons every now and then and so here we are with a romantic drama (it made a change). I must admit I did find it all a little too predictable and a little cliché; however, there were one or two good points which I’ll discuss after this very brief summary.
When Jacob, the son of Polish immigrants, finds himself destitute after an accident involving his parents, he sets off to find a place in the world. It is the early 1930’s and the world is in an economic depression which makes it very difficult. Fortunately Jacob jumps on a circus train where he finds work. The owner of the circus, August, is a hard man, but when he discovers that Jacob is a trained vet, he takes him in. Jacob soon finds he is attracted to August’s wife, Marlena, who has an act in the show. After one of her horses has to be put down August must find a new big attraction, and he finds it in the shape of Rosie, an elephant. It is this point that August reveals the cruel and sadistic side and this is also the point that Jacob’s attraction to Marlena begins to grow. I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Circus Division) will have me mucking out the elephant (again).
A very well made film with great attention to detail. The cinematography was good, without being particularly spectacular, although I did like the warm feel to the colour palate that was used. As far as performances go, well, the stand-out for me was Christoph Waltz as August; he is really getting some meaty ‘bad-guy’ parts, and (so far) he’s always delivered. Reese Witherspoon did a decent job as Marlena, as did Robert Pattinson as Jacob; it was nice to see him with a little colour in his cheeks! Honourable mentions go to; Paul Schneider as Charlie, Jim Norton as Camel and Hal Holbrook as Old Jacob.
As I said at the beginning, this film does suffer a little from cliché and predictability, although I did like the way Christoph Waltz played the character of August. At times you could almost feel sympathy for him before he’d turn it on its head and show his true colours. The romance did get in the way of a decent drama, but then again I guess that’s what the paying public wanted. For me, it confirmed that romantic dramas aren’t really my thing although it was pretty well made and Christoph Waltz was very good.
My Score: 6.9/10
IMDb Score: 6.9/10 (based on 37,502 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 52/100: (Based on 35 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 61/100 (based on 185 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 71/100 (based on 60,395 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
Jacob: I don't know if I picked that circus. But something told me that circus picked me.
August: You do right by me, I'll show you a life most suckers can't even dream of.
August: As long as we can walk, we play.
Jacob: I'm not running away, I'm coming home.