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Sometimes, the trailer for a movie makes all the difference as to whether I want to see a movie. I love trailers. In fact, I love trailers more than movies. So if there's a good one, it will really suck me in. This is particularly true for comedies, because if you can't make a funny trailer with the funniest 2 minutes of the movie, well, forget it. The trailer for Casanova was great and edited to make it look like a lot of fun. The cast includes Heath Ledger, Lena Olin, Jeremy Irons and Oliver Platt, as well as the tabloid queen, Sienna Miller. So Casanova looked like a good bet and I went to see it. Unfortunately, I ended up feeling a bit cheated by the trailer. But more on that later. Casanova tells the story of the famous lover, except not the usual story. Since Casanova's memoirs are notoriously unreliable, the writers of this film decided to make up a new unknown part of Casanova's life where he (Heath Ledger) meets and falls in love with a beautiful but way-ahead-of-her-time feminist (Sienna Miller). Casanova has just become engaged to another beautiful young woman (Natalie Dormer) for appearance sake. A young man (Charlie Cox) is also in love with Dormer and ends up challenging Casanova to a duel. When Casanova and his servant (Omid Djalili) show up for the duel, Cox's sister, none other than Sienna Miller, does the dueling. Then, things get a bit complicated. Miller is also engaged to a rich fat man (Oliver Platt) who sells lard. And hard on Casanova's trail is the inquisition in the person of Jeremy Irons. Casanova first impersonates Miller's Fiance and then Miller's male persona that she uses to write diatribes against people like Casanova. But who really cares. By that point, I'd lost interest.
For a movie about Casanova, there isn't much in the way of sex. It starts off well with Casanova servicing all the young novices at a Nunnery but then it goes downhill. Casanova seems to be tired or depressed. Anyway, as soon as he meets Miller, he becomes very uninteresting. Some of this is due to Heath Ledger who seems to be half-asleep throughout the movie. Maybe he took this part to balance Brokeback Mountain but if so, he isn't very convincing. He shows a lot more emotion and passion as a gay cowboy. The star of the movie is definitely Miller, who if you have seen her before in the movies or just in People magazine, is pretty much unrecognizable. She has passion enough for everyone and projects a very smart but attractive woman that we can almost believe that Casanova would fall for. The rest of the cast is pretty much wasted. Lena Olin, Jeremy Irons and Oliver Platt all make an effort but they too seem a bit drained. The only person other than Miller with any energy is Omid Djalili who plays Casanova's long suffering servant. So maybe it's the director's fault. The script is OK but the plot hinges to a large extent on the fact that Casanova can go around Venice pretending to be someone else and no one recognizes him. This was way too much for me to accept. The movie is directed by the Lasse Hallström who is a very good director. He directed My Life as a Dog, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules and Chocolat. Casanova is definitely not up to his usual standards. Maybe he's tired too.
I had great hopes for this movie. Like I said, the trailer sucked me in. But you never can tell. My favorite trailer at the moment is for Marie-Antoinette, Sofia Coppola's new film. Check it out. But Casanova was a disappointment. I won't spoil the ending for you but it was a bit of a rip off of the Princess Bride. Casanova has a lot in common with the dread pirate Roberts. It's almost worth going to see casanova just to see Sienna Miller and why she is the new "it" girl, but with all that high powered talent, Casanova should have been a lot better.