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Little Chaos, A


Stars: Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Helen McCrory, Jennifer Ehle, Steven Waddington, Phyllida Law

Director: Alan Rickman

A pallid and boring period piece set in 1682 France; mind you, better directors than Rickman would struggle to make an interesting and/or entertaining film about the building of an outdoor ballroom and water feature at Louis XIV's country palace in Versailles.

In a story that fairly crawls along, Winslet plays Sabine, a widow (her daughter and faithless husband were killed in a coach crash) who has made herself independent by carving out a career as a builder and designer of ornamental gardens. Summoned by André Le Notre (a hangdog Schoenaerts, who looks as though he'd be happier as a schemer)) for an interview about said ballroom, Sabine eventually lands the job - and her employer, whose wife's (McCrory) sexual interests lie elsewhere.

The best you can say about the piece is that it's well-dressed, but Rickman's heavy-handed direction ensures that it never makes the pulses race in any respect, while every time Rickman himself comes on, his over-languid portrait of the king slows the film down even more.

Winslet seems unsuited to her role, but McCrory does exude some venom, despite having to battle with such lines as 'Are you still fiddling with your bits, André?' Frankly, my dears, it's a yawn.

David Quinlan

UK 2014. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour by Kodak.
117 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Apr 2015