Thursday, March 29, 2012


Review: Mirror Mirror
2.5 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund

For all its pomp and fabulosity, Mirror Mirror is actually Tarsem Singh's most minimalistic effort, a dialed-down game board of elaborate pieces that's akin to the human chess set captained by evil Queen Clementianna (Julia Roberts). Like Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella with just a dash of Lars von Trier's Dogville, his rendering of this revisionist fairy tale is less cinematic than it is purposefully theatrical. The queen's ornately decorated, yet largely sparse bed chamber looks out to a sky that's basically a moving matte painting, and even the forest is a simple backdrop of black and white, full of nothing but snow and rocks that mirror endless birch trees. More than anything previously seen in a Tarsem film, the production design (here by frequent collaborator Tom Foden) appears obsessively placed and inorganic, with a near-palpable wariness of human contact. The visuals work because the director is knowingly embracing a new twist on his aesthetic, withholding in more ways than one for his first fairy tale that isn't chiefly aimed at adults.

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