Director: Richard Attenborough
Cast: Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer,
Mischa Barton, Stephen Amell, Neve Campbell, Pete Postlethwaite,
Brenda Fricker, Gregory Smith, John Travers
RunTime: 1 hr 58 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: NC-16 (Some Nudity)
Official Website: http://www.closingtheringmovie.co.uk/
Opening Day: 25 September 2008
From Academy Award®-winning director Richard Attenborough
(Gandhi, Shadowlands) comes Closing the Ring, a deeply moving
love story of an American woman who honors a wartime promise
of love with a lifetime of heartache until the discovery of
a gold ring reawakens her. Spanning two continents and half
a century, Closing the Ring stars Academy Award®-winner
Shirley MacLaine (In Her Shoes, Terms of Endearment), Christopher
Plummer (A Beautiful Mind, The Insider), Mischa Barton (television's
The O.C.), Academy Award®-nominee Pete Postlethwaite (The
Constant Gardener, In the Name of the Father) and Academy
Award®-winner Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot, The Field).
World War II, more than 300,000 American military personal
passed through or were based in Northern Ireland. On June
1, 1944, ten of these young American servicemen died when
their B-17 bomber lost its bearings in heavy fog and crashed
into Belfast's Cave Hill. Over fifty years later, a news item
about a discovery at the crash site of one airman's wedding
ring struck a chord in writer Peter Woodward, son of the actor
Edward Woodward, inspiring him to write Closing the Ring.
Richard Attenborough calls it 'unequivocally one of the most
exciting, most original, most authentic first screenplays
I've ever read.'
If you like movies along the lines of The Engagement or the
more recent Atonement, Closing the Ring might very well be
your cup of tea. A weak cup of tea, but nonetheless…
script, written by Peter Woodward, son of actor Edward Woodward,
was inspired by real-life events: In 1944, the entire American
crew of a B-17 bomber was killed in a plane crash on Belfast’s
Cave Hill, and in a later news report, a wedding ring that
was found amidst the debris of the plane was said to have
belonged to one of the dead airmen.
that’s really the gist of the story. The film relies
on meandering flashbacks to narrate its story, and as it races
to and fro between the past and present, the fragments of
the characters’ memories slowly piece together.
have young, radiant and lovely Ethel Ann (played by Mischa
Barton), and her three stooges: Jack or “Brunette 1”
(Georgory Smith), Chuck or “Brunette 2” (David
Alpay), and Teddy or “one and only Blondie” (Stephen
Amell). It’s easy to guess whom Ethel Ann picks to have
sexy times with; of course, it is Teddy, the blond and all-American
boy who grabs her tender heart. Also, the remaining two left
of the crew, both compromising men who value camaraderie over
anything, are silently in love with Ethel Ann.
forward time, and we have a bitter and older Ethel Ann (Shirley
MacLaine), at her husband’s funeral, of which if you
observed properly at the beginning of the film, has a portrait
of Chuck. So Chuck’s dead, and Teddy’s either
dead (more likely) or secretly alive somewhere. We soon find
out that Jack (Christopher Plummer) is still alive, and that
he serves as filler until the last few minutes or so.
is played along with the intertwining story of a young chap
named Jimmy (Martin McCann), who discovers the ring and is
determined to return it to its rightful owner.
you can see, it’s not really that hard to make this
plot work, given that it has been done to death over the years,
and really, what’s left to work on (or go wrong in some
cases) is the script and characterization.
unsurprisingly, it fails on that level. Throw in a dash of
bad and stiff acting (mostly from Barton and Amell), portions
of contrived scriptwriting, a smack of forced lines and viola!
You’ll get Closing the Ring.
for audience to be swept into the whole “war kills love
of one’s life” shebang, there has to be a solid
enough characterization –and acting – of the leads
to convince the audience that their love is worthy enough
for them to believe that it will transcend time even many
years after one’s death, and thereafter, earn their
we have though are scenes of playful caressing, unnecessary
nude scenes, superficial conversations about pledging their
love to one another, AND nothing to show us why, how and where
is the attraction between the two leads. Believe me, I have
seen better romance movies, and they are not even about surviving
some big and evil disaster like a war. And this is where Closing
the Ring fails. Also, if the romance doesn’t sell, no
one gives a crap if the special effects are not too shady
or whether the grand orchestral music playing in the background
is actually pretty soothing to the ear.
all, it is supposed to be about a believable love that has
been disrupted tragically by the war and lives on in spite
of that, and not a film about the repulsive effects of war.
So where is the love as promised?
it falls short on being an epic love/war film, it’s
definitely watchable if you are looking for a light film –
It’s definitely not a “first-date” sort
of movie, unless you are not looking to impress. Just don’t
expect yourself to come out of the cinema feeling overwhelmed
by the power of love like how you were promised by the copywriting
(“Discover the love of a lifetime”) on the poster.
(Discover the love of a… what?)
Review by Casandra Wong