CITY PRESS REVIEW: A magnificent but miscast film

2016-11-06 06:00

Doctor Strange

Director: Scott Derrickson

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton

Look, I love Tilda Swinton as much as the next person – her portrayal of Orlando in the film adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s book of the same name is still some of the best acting you will ever see – but her recent role in the big-budget Doctor Strange is hard for me to get my head around.

Why, gods of the silver screen, did you cast her – a young(ish) white American woman – as an ancient, Asian spiritual master?

Yes Tilda was, as ever, fantastic in the role, but was it impossible to find someone of her skill set that was actually, oh I don’t know, Asian? For an entire movie that pivots around the powerful wisdom of Eastern spiritual practices, it is really disappointing and takes the power out of the hands of those to whom those rituals and beliefs belong.

If you can look past that sort of cultural bulldozing, which after a few minutes you kind of just accept as a normal part of the Hollywood machine, then prepare yourself for what has to be one of Marvel’s greatest films yet.

The confluence of science and sorcery is something I have not really seen in a Marvel film before. To combine those disparate ideas, of something being a power of the mind and the other being a power of the soul, makes for the sort of viewing that is both afflicted and inspirational.

To achieve the crossing of these two worlds, director Scott Derrickson took special effects to a level also not seen in a Marvel production before. Mind-bending kaleidoscopes morph the world of magic with the world of our visible reality, twisting and turning perspectives in a stomach-churning adventure through space and time.

Add to this the best 3-D animation I have seen since Avatar and you will understand why I must say that you absolutely have to see this film on the big screen this year.

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