“After an unexpected hiatus (holiday season, good friend moving to LA) it was about time I got back into writing reviews. An idea one of my friends also had as she (for some reason) checks my profile for my thoughts on films. Noticing I didn’t post anything for two weeks she decided to shoot me with her ray gun, take me to her spaceship, insert a bomb into my genitals, and set a timer for three hours. Telling me the only way to survive is to watch “Diana” and write a review in my limited time. Thus I did it and barely made it out alive. However, she refused to remove the bomb!”. Excerpt from the biography “Based on a true story”.
Diana follows the last two years of Princess Diana life secret love affair with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan turning a life story into a very crummy romance film. Calling this film a biopic is the equivalent of saying the film “2012” is base on a true story. Problem number one with this film making the person of interest boring. As someone who knows nothing about the Princess of Wales this film shares no insight about her nor the people around her. Its reluctant to share anything even the most basic of understanding of who Diana is a person becomes lost to its audience. Now because of the structure of the film manipulative narrative Diana comes across as a one dimensional Gollum. Now going by written dialogue in the film Diana “Gets very excited by Hospitals”, “I’m a princess and I get what I want”, and wonders if “Did they publish the pictures of the kids with all their arms and legs blown off”. That’s some awful dialogue yes, but the rest of the writing is equally appalling. Not to forget exploitative beginning the film starting on the night of her death hammering the message that there is no return.
Earlier I said this is more of a crummy romance and I stand by that. For example, the film paints Diana was so swept off her feet that she ignored her children and her work. Doing charity work for the sake of good lips service. In any other fictional film if you have bad characters, underdeveloped elements, and sloppy narrative you simply get a bad piece of fiction. Not here as even if the events in the film did happen it feels false. In a movie that has the Dwayne Johnson Quartet (sadly Dwayne Johnson is nowhere in the film) you end up quitting finding any shred of truth that the film might share. Even its main focus on the romance is terribly written. Important events are glossed over, the romance is egotistical (ones a whiner and ones comes across as too clingy), and at no point allows us to see Diana the way the filmmaker intended us to see her. There’s a line in the film that goes “You don’t perform the operation, the operation performs you. And when it’s over, reality is a bit flat. You’re very tire.”. That statement holds true to the film itself. You don’t experience the film, the film attempts destroy you and your perception of Diana in reality. Hoping in the end you’re too tired to search for the truth and accepts the false reality the film gives you.
Naomi Watts has little material to work from, the result being overuse of only a few mannerisms and speech characteristics. She delivers some awful, awful lines with a straight face. If anything the acting is best the thing about the film. All the performances are average, but at no point do they attempt to ham it up or go over the top with their performances. As for everything else it’s unnoticeable. The direction is on autopilot with no interesting shots being stuck in limbo and the film score is forgettable to the point the closing credits remind there was actually music in the film. Also, playing Beethoven 9th Symphony during heart surgery is not romantic.
Diana is a terrible romance film that I refuse to consider biopic. A biopic should tell us, show us, or give insight on the person of interest gaining some level of understanding that person in a new way something this film does not do. Instead “Diana” chooses to do the opposite capitalizing on someone death exploiting people’s feeling for the sake of cash. If that wasn’t the intention of the people involved in making this were it’s the feeling they get across.