Cast: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
What's it about:
Diana's private life has ample fodder to make a Sidney Sheldon book set, but a film based on her life neither engages us on a cerebral level, nor titillates with shades of gossip! Instead it becomes a sort of parody demeaning and mutilating every little memory we have of one of the 'princess of hearts'.
We start off with where it ends, the French tunnel surrounded by paparazzi, flashes of her CCTV footage in the lift with her boyfriend Dodi take us back to that moment where the news of her death shocked millions around the world. A flashback begins.
Naomi Watts might look the part but there's not even an ounce of Diana in her. The film has huge chapters dedicated to her love affair with Pakistani doctor Haznat Khan (Naveen Andrews) and revolves around her inability to move on from that relationship.
Those intrigued by the life of the late Princess of Wales might find small details about what she liked to eat, or how she liked to dress up, or her choice of bed tea riveting. Her first date with Haznat, or her secret meetings with him, make us forget for a brief moment that she like any of us was as vulnerable and a fool when it came to love.
The camera work especially in those infamous bikini scenes on the yacht with Dodi are remarkable. Also scenes involving her campaign to talk about land mines and how she woos the press give us a rare glimpse into how she was her own PR machinery.
Unlike The Queen, or The Iron Lady, Diana fails to create a strong back story or a bait to grab your interest. With a life that is speckled with page six columns, front page tabloid photos, a failed marriage and several affairs, there was enough material to explore. But Hirschbiegel instead creates a monotonous duel between Watts and Andrews that seems like an episode out of Greys Anatomy with two interns bickering over daily stuff.
Also parts where she's freely walking in a park, wearing a brunette wig to mask her identity or hiding her face with her Chanel bag to evade the press, seem very disjointed. Devil or the saint?
Diana doesn't take sides, but manages to lead us into believing she was the former of the two. Performances are below expectation. Watts seems weary and tired, perhaps knowing the huge burden she's carrying. Andrews looks as 'lost' (pun intended) as he did on that TV show, while Dodi looks like a bodyguard than her lover!
What to do:
A huge royal mess, Diana is easily one of the worst biographical work brought alive on the big screen.
Watch the trailer: