Starring: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews, Cas Anvar
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Running Time: 113 mins
Diana is a British film that details the final two years of Diana, Princess Of Wales’s life as she falls in love with a Pakistani heart surgeon amidst growing media scrutiny around her.
For the film that tells the story of one of the most beloved public figures of all time, it’s incredible how they managed to make it such a boring tale. Despite spirited central performances by Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews, this film falls flat on its face due to surprisingly poor directing and editing as well as a screenplay that makes for more false drama than genuinely engrossing emotional intrigue.
Before we get into why this is such a disappointing film, however, let’s talk about the only good bit: the acting. Despite being given repetitive and cheesy dialogue throughout, Naomi Watts does as great a job as ever as Princess Diana here, clearly doing her best to show the obvious class of the woman as well as her burning desire to break free from the social stigmas that her position in the royal family had put her in, and that is definitely admirable.
What’s more is that Naveen Andrews, who plays Hasnat Khan, Diana’s love interest, is pretty good as well. His role is again very cheesy as the dramatic lover who wants to live a normal life but cannot live without Diana, however he plays it very convincingly, and makes Khan a fully likeable and interesting person to follow throughout.
Apart from that, however, this film is very poor. The screenplay, as I’ve said, is hugely cheesy and doesn’t really do justice to the clearly emotional period of Diana’s life, and despite its ambitions to show her as a great humanitarian and a normal person, this film hypocritically ends up being as much of a tabloid story as all the paparazzi it tries to criticise, focussing way too much on the juicy details of the relationship that just aren’t as interesting without the true emotion that comes behind it.
And that’s one of the other surprising things here, that the paparazzi don’t seem so villainous and infuriating. Even in the god-awful William And Kate: The Movie, the paps played an interesting and important role, but in this, they’re just there, and despite the film’s attempts to make them big villains, they just appear like nothing.
A final problem with the way the story is told is the fact that it doesn’t look at Diana’s death that appropriately. Although there may have been an understandable intention to not put too much focus on the tragic event, the way that her death is presented is as if it were just a random event that didn’t actually mean anything. Of course, the fact that the previous two hours were so uninteresting means that there’s not much persuading you to care about the finale, which is shocking given how beloved Princess Diana was, but it’s still disappointing all the same.
Finally, this film also has some very poor directing and editing. It’s at least well-made, but it often feels very awkward to watch, with some jump cuts that seem like mistakes here and there, random scenes that play no role whatsoever in the story, and attempts at creating more atmospheric drama that come off as stupid, so because of that, and everything I’ve said before, this gets a 5.2.