The Light Between Oceans (2016)

10:49 AM

Love Demands Everything
 The Light Between Oceans is directed by Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond the Pines, Blue Valentine) and stars Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds, Prometheus), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl, Ex Machina) and Rachel Weisz (The Mummy, Constantine). "A lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat". This film has a brilliant cast and a director with a great resume - surely it is the recipe for perfection?

In terms of the technical aspects, this film is perfection - The Light Between Oceans is beautifully shot with some really great cinematography and the performances are also strong enough to hold the film for over two hours. However, the plot is extremely bland and the pace is very slow. This film left me speechless but for all the wrong reasons - I just didn't have any words for it, it was hard to get through and was just 'meh'. To prove my point, I saw this film 2 weeks ago and I am only just forcing myself to write about it now. I wouldn't say I fall into the target audience of The Light Between Oceans - it could easily be a TV mini-series if it was split up into segments. I don't want to say this film is rubbish because it is definitely a well-made film, it just bored me so much. 

Lets start with the positives - the cinematography. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if The Light Between Oceans gets some awards attention for the technical aspects such as cinematography. The film is simply beautiful and it really captures the seaside locations really well. However, there is only so much cinematography can do when the rest of the film is so dull - you see past the brilliant cinematography way too easily as the bland narrative stands in its way. 

The performances are another positive aspect of The Light Between Oceans - both Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander do fantastic jobs. However, this film isn't going to drive their careers in a positive direction, or a negative direction to be fair. It is clear both actors are going for Oscars and awards with this film but unfortunately because the narrative and script is quite poor, I don't see Vikander or Fassbender getting nominations - however, if they do, I definitely think they would be deserving. The chemistry is also fantastic between the two and feels very natural which can be explained through the fact both actors actually spent months isolated on this island in order to build chemistry - talk about a 24 hour job! Vikander is a rising star that I have been following which is the main reason I went to see this film and she really wasn't given the best opportunity to shine. There is also a brilliant child/baby actor in this film who lifts it up quite a bit. 

Now for the big negative that lets the whole film down. The narrative, pacing and script. I can't tell you how boring and bland this film is. At first, I honestly could have walked out as the film was set up to seem like 2 hours plus was going to be spent just watching a relationship develop between this couple. However, some drama was added to the mix with the arrival of a mystery baby - this did create some entertainment but the whole time, you couldn't help think what the characters were doing was wrong - this wasn't helped by a sub-plot that kept switching to show the actual mother of the child. I think the film wanted to portray Vikander and Fassbender as a mad couple but I really didn't get those vibes even though their actions were admittedly mad. The Light Between Oceans could have easily been more thrilling as the actual set up is interesting but the execution is a slow paced, occasionally dramatic romance. This film definitely belongs on TV - despite its stars, director and cinematography, this plot is something you would see on TV, and not even captivating TV. 

So I recently watched The Neon Demon and coincidentally, I will be giving the same score to The Light Between Oceans - however, The Neon Demon was a film that just didn't work but it provided some great critical value and I believe there is something great underneath. The Light Between Oceans is a very well made film but is let down by extremely slow pacing and an uninteresting narrative. The good performances from Fassbender and Vikander aren't enough to save this film and it is another potential awards contender to fall at the hurdle of actually being good. Meh. 


What did you think of THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS? Do you think it still has the chance to be an awards contender? - COMMENT BELOW

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