Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tarsem Singh: Mirror, Mirror

Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Mirror, Mirror, Relativity Media, 2012.

Meticulously mixing high camp, grand guignol, and ravishing fairy tale visuals, auteur Tarsem Singh casts a warm, funny spell with his revisionist nursery story, Mirror, Mirror. A game cast, smart script by Melisa Wallack and Jason Keller, ravishing images by dp Brendan Galvin, and strong direction by Singh ensure that the whole affair is a smooth, sweet ride.

Expertly infusing dark humor with wonder, Singh's light-hearted romp is infectious. Julia Roberts has a blast, tongue planted firmly in cheek, channeling Joan Crawford, as the evil queen. Her castlescapes and painterly chambers coalesce an idea into action; the mythical archetypes of feminine roles. Lily Collins, on the other hand, is our sweetheart heroine; she's pitch-perfect. Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Mare Winningham, and Michael Lerner all have a good time with their turns.

After his genre defying first two features, The Cell and The Fall, Singh has carved his own niche in the studio system, and so far, it works. His Immortals, and now, Mirror, Mirror, fetishize the visual iconography of myths and legends. His signature style, kissed by Kubrick and Greenaway, feels total in its intentions.

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