Blu-ray Review: ‘Winter’s Tale’ Has A Lot To Like Even With A Hard To Follow Plot

Winters Tale

A romantic, fantasy epic chronicling the deep love of a petty burglar and a dying heiress, amidst a world of magic, demons, and miracles.

‘Winter’s Tale’ is a romantic fantasy epic, set in a mystical version of New York City, which tells the story of Peter Lake (Colin Farrell), a petty burglar on the lam from his former boss, the wicked Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe). One day, while running from Soames, Peter is rescued with the help of a magical flying white horse. The horse, a spirit guide, brings Peter to an upscale mansion where he meets Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay), the love of his life, a young heiress on death’s door. The strength of their love sets in motion a series of magically inspired events, which Soames will do everything in his power to stop.

This is an imaginative fantasy film that at times seems to try too hard. It struggles to decide if it is a love story or a fantasy epic. This is noticeable even by glancing the film’s Blu-ray packaging, which seems to do all it can to hide the mythical elements of the film. It isn’t until the last line of the summary on the back of the case that any clear fantasy elements of the film are even mentioned. Perhaps this thematic oversight would be fine if the movie was not so engulfed in fantasy. People who come in looking for a traditional love story will likely be disappointed. Fans of epic fantasy and magical worlds with a romantic twist will find much more to like.

‘Winter’s Tale’ is based upon a novel, of the same name, written by author Mark Helprin. It is likely that the wealth of source material from the book made it difficult for screenwriter/director Akiva Goldsman to carve out an uncluttered two-hour film. Despite a few scenes that steamrolled the likely subtleties of the book’s mythical ethos by dumbing down and explaining magical plot points at length, Goldsman’s narrative flows well.

The world of ‘Winter’s Tale’ is fantastically realized with great visuals and interesting character designs that serve the film well. Similarly, the actors cast to populate this world do a great job bringing it to life. Farrell’s performance is strong, with his only awkward moments being more the fault of the screenplay than his own. There is clear chemistry between Farrell’s Peter and Findlay’s Beverly, which serves to cement the overarching plotline driven by their deep love. Crowe performs well as a fairy tale villain, but at times he does go a bit over the top. The supporting cast, including William Hurt, Jennifer Garner, and Will Smith, is well chosen and only adds to the main performances.

There is a lot to like in ‘Winter’s Tale,’ but at times the plot becomes dense and occasionally difficult to follow. Luckily, in typical Hollywood fashion, most of the more difficult plot points are given easy to digest,

Own “WINTER’S TALE” on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD on June 24th.

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