Joe Wright’s Cyrano opens on a superbly framed picture of a marionette. After his mishandled try at noir-y thriller The Lady In The Window, the director, whose dad and mom ran a puppet theatre, has returned to extra stable, fruitful floor, mockingly by embracing his extra experimental facet: a musical adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac, based mostly on Erica Schmidt’s 2018 stage present, scored by The Nationwide and shot in the course of the pandemic in Sicily. It is perhaps extra eccentric than partaking and it will probably’t escape the yarn’s well-worn contours, but it surely’s recurrently ingenious, lush-as-anything, and grounded by a charismatic Peter Dinklage efficiency.
Dinklage originated this incarnation on stage (he’s married to creator Schmidt) and the reinvention is a masterstroke, his bodily distinction feeling immediately extra convincing and poignant that the character’s conventional over-sized hooter. His loquacious Cyrano is a talented swordsman with the braveness to effortlessly take down ten assailants — the fights are superbly staged by Wright — however missing the bravery to declare his emotions for his childhood buddy Roxanne (The Woman On The Practice’s Haley Bennett). However when Roxanne falls quick and deep for ridiculously good-looking soldier Christian (Waves’ Kelvin Harrison Jr), Cyrano sees a possibility to share his passion in a protected manner by writing love-letters for the inarticulate army man. “I’ll make you eloquent,” he suggests, “whereas you’ll make me good-looking.”
If Cyrano has a precedent in Wright’s again catalogue, it’s his adaptation of Anna Karenina, lending one other revered traditional a mix of playfulness and excessive type. courtesy of luscious costumes, theatrical manufacturing design and immaculately orchestrated digicam strikes. If generally his MO feels needlessly ornate, different occasions he will get it precisely proper: the best way he levels the story’s notorious balcony scene — the place Cyrano has to talk Christian’s phrases — is each plausible and magical.
Even when his singing isn’t the strongest, that is Dinklage’s film.
The songs, composed by The Nationwide’s Bryce and Aaron Dessner — with lead singer Matt Berninger and Carin Besser offering the lyrics — smack of the band’s bruised romanticism. It’s a combined bag of tunes however the extra memorable songs lie past the central duo: Roxanne’s suitor, the detestable Duke De Guiche (a too broad Ben Mendelsohn, rocking a cape like Krennic), will get a robust this-is-my-evil-plan quantity and essentially the most memorable track is sung by troopers writing letters dwelling on the eve of a giant battle, the fight evocatively mounted by Wright towards the white of Mount Etna.
Bennett is partaking as Roxanne — her efficiency and Erica Schmidt’s writing mitigate the story’s sexist undertow the place the character is lumbered with the double-whammy of being dumb and shallow — and Harrison Jr does sufficient with Christian to complicate the love triangle. However that is Dinklage’s film. Even when his singing isn’t the strongest, his limitations add to Cyrano’s vulnerability, and he can convey deep wells of intelligence, anger, craving and remorse with the slightest of facial infections. Etching a considerate, proud man hamstrung by doubt, he grounds Wright’s footloose and fancy-free aesthetic and makes the ultimate moments surprisingly affecting.