Rating: 4 / 5 stars
By Sally Burgess, Technical Manager
Based on the best-selling book by Sara Gruen, Water For Elephants tells us the story of Jacob (Pattinson), a promising veterinarian who finds himself suddenly homeless after losing his parents. He jumps on board a train to find that it is a circus train, and soon finds himself working as a vet for the charming yet sadistic owner, August (Waltz).
August is also married to the circus’s star attraction, Marlena (Witherspoon), who performs with the horses.
August invests in a new attraction as the crowds are starting to wearing thin- a 53-year old elephant named Rosie.
Rosie proves to be rather stubborn though, and some viewers may find August’s treatment of the gentle giant hard to watch. However, Jacob soon finds a way to handle Rosie without the use of the dreaded bull hook, and the Benzini Brothers circus soon starts drawing massive crowds yet again.
Of course, our hero Jacob soon finds himself falling for the beautiful Marlena, and his feelings do not go unrequited…
This was a nicely made film with a couple of stand out performances. Reese Witherspoon does an excellent job of portraying Marlena, but the film really belongs to Christoph Waltz, who I last saw playing the charming yet ruthless Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds. Robert Pattinson I thought was a little out of his depth acting opposite these Oscar-winning heavyweights, but I feel that in a few years he will become a serious acting contender. It did make a refreshing change, though, seeing him with a healthy glow compared to his super-pale vampire in the Twilight films!
The movie is told in flashback and narrated by a 90-something year old Jacob, played by Hollywood veteran Hal Holbrook.
This movie will no doubt appeal to the ladies more than the blokes due to the romantic theme, but this is a film I think the whole family can watch.
Standout Performance: Christoph Waltz