Bel Canto (2018) - USA
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Based on the true story of an Opera singer’s romance with a Japanese Businessman in the middle of a hostage situation in Peru. This provide a rare opportunity for an Asian American Ken Watanabe to share a intimate romance with Julianne Moore further adding to Asian Representation in Hollywood. It shows how people whether in captivity or forced to stay within an isolated environment will react and eventually adapt to their given surroundings. What makes the film clicks is left largely due to the likeable casting and portrayal of potential terrorist being humans like us, former teachers, fighting for the kind of justice that they believe in.
The film should really be focusing on the Moore and Watanabe blooming romance, but instead never focuses on this, instead we get too many other characters. What could have been two people against the odds of the situations became many, thus fails to fully engage with the audience. Moore tries hard as usual, even attempts to mimic an actual opera singer, however struggles with the script on hand. In the end, duo fail to translate the emotional connection to the audience, thus classifying this as a clear missed opportunity.
All in all, “Bel Canto” is clearly well meaning and have something to say, but when the should-be sensational finale unfolds, we are already exhausted with the ordeal in captivating and any emotions if any, becomes a relief that the film is finally ending. It is a missed opportunity to produce a great romantic tale in face of adversity and captivity, instead we get a bland piece of cinema that leaves most disappointed in its execution.
I rated it 5/10