In all truthfulness, "The Painted Veil" might not appeal to you. It is a deliberately paced character study that takes place in the 1920s. Although it could hardly be considered exciting by any stretch, this is one of 2006's best movies.
The film is based on W. Somerset Maugham's novel by the same name. In the movie, Walter Fane (Edward Norton), a bacteriologist, falls in love with Kitty (Naomi Watts), an upper-class woman. Although she doesn't return his love, she marries him. The couple relocates to China, where eventually Kitty falls in love with another man and commits adultery. When Walter learns of her infidelity, he voluntarily accepts a job in a remote village in China ravaged by a deadly cholera epidemic. As a form of revenge, he brings Kitty along with him. It is here where they learn more about each other than they ever knew before.
The film is brought to life beautifully. Nearly the entire movie was filmed on location in China. This exotic location gives us some of the most breathtaking images on film in recent years. Besides the cinematography, the costume design and art direction are amazing. The simple piano score is as moving as the images themselves. This is a technical masterpiece.
On top of the art elements, Norton and Watts, as well as supporting characters Toby Jones and Liev Schreiber, all shine in their roles.
This movie isn't for everyone. I think it would most appeal to those who really enjoy classic movies, speaking of pre-1970s films. It has the feel of a real throwback to old Hollywood.
Although you may have to go out of your way to find it (it's only playing at the Dipson Amherst Theatre), if you like classic movies, I highly recommend checking it out.
Joshua Jezioro is a senior at Frontier High School.
>The Painted Veil
Review: Four stars (out of four)