(Review originally written at 13 May 2008)

Well, with already "Lolita" from 1962, by Stanley Kubrick, circulating, expectations for this 1997 version weren't very high. How can you ever beat a Kubrick? Well, this version doesn't exactly beat the better Kubrick version but it simple is a real great movie on its own nevertheless, that really deserves to be seen.

This version is of course somewhat different from the 1962 Stanley Kubrik movie and as far as I understood, this version stays actually closer to the actual Vladimir Nabokov novel. What this movie does is trying to explain why Humbert Humbert likes them younger, while I believe in the Kubrick movie he isn't interested in Lolita at all in the beginning and actually tries to fight it but finally falls for her fatal seductions. In this movie they both want each other from basically the moment they see each other.

It perhaps also makes this version more sensual, although it's not very hard to be more sensual than a movie that got made back in the early '60's. This version is also more sensual due to both Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain. There is nothing wrong with James Mason and Sue Lyon but Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain have a better natural chemistry together. And while Frank Langella ain't no Peter Sellers, he does a good job in his role, even though his role is rather restrained in the movie, which is a sort of a waste of such a fine character and actor such as Frank Langella.

It simply is its fine and also controversial story that makes this movie such a great one. I like movie don't portray things as being black and white. A pedophile is not just a pedophile and this movie shows how a seemingly normal man with a respectable profession falls for a 14-year old girl. When you read about a story like this in the paper you tend to see; 'What a creep!' or 'how sick!'. Real life however of course isn't as simple and black and white as you would read about in the papers. It's a multi-layered story with complicated characters, feelings and emotions.

Adrian Lyne once more shows that he is a real capable director. He doesn't make an awful lot of movies but when he does it's often something really good. The movie has a good style although the movie made me wonder why they didn't attempted to give the story a more modern update. I mean, there basically is no reason for this movie to be set in the '40's. He lays the emphasis mostly on the two main characters, which does go at the expense of the other characters obviously but it's a choice he made and did not worked out all too bad I must say.

Really a movie worth seeing. Give it a change, even if you known that it just simply can't beat the 1962 Kubrick version.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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