Water for Elephants
Director: Francis Lawrence, 20th Century Fox, Rated M, 120 Mins
After directing such movies as Constantine and I Am Legend, Francis Lawrence has now brought to the screen Richard LaGravenese’s well written screenplay based on Sara Gruen’s best selling novel Water for Elephants, a romantic drama of forbidden love that takes place during the great depression of the 1930’s and set against the background of a travelling circus troupe.
With the sudden death of his Polish parents in a car accident Jacob Jankowski (Twilight star Robert Pattinson) a veterinary student about to complete his final exams at Cornell University is left penniless and forced to hit the road - jumping on a train which turns out to be the Benzini Brothers travelling circus.
He soon comes to the attention of the ruthless owner August (brilliantly played by Oscar winner Christoph Waltz) who quickly finds use of Jacob’s veterinary skills.
Jacob also becomes enchanted with August’s circus performing wife Marlena (beautifully portrayed by Walk the Line Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon) and is drawn closer together as a result of the addition of another circus act - and the movie’s other main character - that of ‘Rosie’ the elephant which surprisingly only responds to instructions being given in Polish.
Despite some animal cruelty and apparent lack of chemistry between Pattinson and Witherspoon - due in part to Pattinson showing much of his brooding ‘Twilight’ persona - Lawrence has still managed to create the right atmosphere and setting for his well staged period drama of a love triangle that appears doomed from the start.
Besides a memorable storyline and the performances of the other cast members (including Hal Holbrook who plays the older Jacob), especially Waltz’s portrayal as the circus ringmaster and crazed husband (equaling his Academy award winning performance in Inglourious Basterds) the other star attraction in this enjoyable movie is that of Rosie the elephant!
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamp
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