Review: Diana (2013)

Diana is an oddly unemotive bore that feels strangely worked and less a sweeping biopic, more like Bridget Jones’ Dianary.

A biopic about Diana, Princess of Wales was always going to be a hard thing to pull off but Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) has tried… and failed. Diana herself was a controversial figure but with this overlong bore of a film you find little controversy, just a mess of a film. It is clear that the cast and crew thought they were handling hot Oscar bait here but this film is the complete opposite. This is a film that feels so fuelled by gossip and hearsay you half expect Hello Magazine’s logo to appear come the conclusion. Diana suffers from Iron Lady syndrome in that it hasn’t really got an audience, supporters of the lady herself will disapprove and those with no thoughts will be completely unmoved too.

The biggest problem with this film is that it feels completely ridiculous, worked more as a Bridget Jones’ Diary sequel than a royal biopic. The issue is that with this secretive love story few are left alive to tell the story and those who are aren’t speaking up. To this end, what on earth was the point? This film sets 90% of itself behind closed doors and feels like pure guesswork and make-believe. Diana hiding in car boots, climbing fences, sneaking out in a wig from Salt? This film is about as honest and truthful as The Flintstones.  The film presents its central figure as a scatter-brained teenager and its romance is like that of two mischievous students. Surely Hasnat did not approve of all this garbled soapy nonsense.

The laughably bad script and its dialogue feel so awkward it’s hard to believe the actors were able to say it without laughing. “You don’t do surgery, surgery does you” says Hasnat (Lost’s Naveen Andrews), “I’d like to feel that” responds Diana (Naomi Watts), is that even romantic dialogue? The two genuinely meet while musing their love of Holby and regularly meet at places like Chicken Cottage, it is at points like this you wonder what they were on when this was written. The film has the occasional gentle scoring and good sets and cinematography to remind you it’s a cinema feature but little else.

It is hard to believe such a cast were involved and it is a shame that the film is so vastly misworked that any attempt at a credible performance from them gets lost in the whirlwind of awful. Watts and Andrews try but this film is silly, uneasy and as soapy as a drowned Fairy factory. Critics have attacked the film for being terrible but the main crime here is boredom and making a two hour film feel three hours long. Diana is a weird film, which starts out like a Paranormal Activity film and only gets more wonky, absurd and unfactual as it goes on. Why?

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