006 - The Age Of Innocence (1993)

Slow, serene, subtle... innocent.

This vocabulary could describe any period drama, but Martin Scorsese's The Age Of Innocence takes it to a whole new level.

The film took me over half an hour to get into - I'm not used to watching this genre of film and I was unsure how on earth I could review a film that seemed to pass straight over my head. Joanne Woodward's narration was going in one ear and out the other, and the two main female protagonists - Winona Ryder as the upper class fiancée, and Michelle Pfeiffer as the estranged lover - merged into one.

Theatrical Poster
After this, I began to catch up. Casting Daniel Day-Lewis was a masterstroke and he made the part his own. As he played the part of Newland Archer his acting to show how torn the character was between his class and his love. While his two female colleagues seemed to just act the parts they played, Day-Lewis started to get me involved in the film and it all fell into place.

Scorsese employs some very clever techniques as director. Darkening part of the screen to focus on one character's face as they acted a soliloquy was subtle, but intelligent. There are many metaphorical references to objects in the film, and as such he uses the period scenery to its full potential.

Despite both of these, the film does rather drag. At an hour and a quarter, I realised there was still a further hour to go. At this point I began to lose interest as the narration kicked back in.

The ending of the film is clever and unexpected, but it all depends if you can stick out the dragged-out couple of hours prior.