Diana relies on innuendo and rumors to complete a romantic story the bulk of which takes place between Diana and Hasnat but even leaving that aside, it’s not a well told story even from a dramatic point of view as it’s hardly effective even at the end which was supposed to be something tragic and heartbreaking.
Genre(s): Drama, Romance
Entertainment One | PG13 – 113 min. – $29.98 | February 11, 2014
Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Writer(s): Stephen Jeffreys
Cast: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews
Theatrical Release Date: November 1, 2013 (limited)
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 36.7 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.25/5
A media sensation when she lived, Princess Diana of Wales had become an even bigger enigma in her death with very few knowing her and even today, beloved worldwide for her grace and tenderness. The bio-drama Diana attempts to give a glimpse of the woman (played by NAOMI WATTS) during a specific timeframe following the separation from Prince Charles and romance with Dr. Hasnat Khan (NAVEEN ANDREWS). The problem I have isn’t with the portrayal but the sources behind the story because unlike a regular romance-drama, this was a real woman adored by millions who clamor to discover more about her and to be boiled down to a sultry relationship and unsubstantiated stories taken from friends and acquaintances.
The story follows Princess Diana as she is at the center of a media wild storm and, during a random hospital visit for friend’s husband, she meets this man’s doctor, Hasnat Khan, and is immediately smitten with him to where she makes it a point to visit again with the pretence of getting the lay of the land and general hospital care. Before long, though, the two share a sweet dinner date which turns into another date and then even more personal. In the meantime, though, their relationship goes through its ups and downs as the media pressure becomes unbearable especially for Hasnat when their romance is splashed on the cover of every tabloid rag. While Diana attempts to quell the rumors by denying it, this displeases Hasnat.
And thus starts the on and off stages of their romance which starts off lovey-dovey, then fight, followed by apology and repeat. Also troublesome is Hasnat’s close-knit family where Diana tries to win the approval of his mother and though the family likes her, she doesn’t receive the approval thus setting up conflict within Hasnat.
That’s the basic gist of Diana the movie and really we don’t learn a whole heck of a lot about the woman who to this day is still adored and fascinates people on both sides of the pond. However, as shown here, and despite the well intentions by everybody from director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Five Minutes of Heaven), writer Stephen Jeffreys (The Libertine) and actors Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews, the movie doesn’t come close to giving any insights and, as I stated in the opening, works off of rumor and innuendo, surmises and such. Personally, I think it would’ve had more impact if we got a wider spread of Diana’s life.
With regards to the performances, while Naomi Watts certainly is beautifully radiant, she’s not given a whole lot to work with when the screenplay keeps us at a certain distance. True, we get some motivations for her relationship with Dodi Fayed (briefly played by Canadian television journeyman CAS ANVAR) but most of the movie she’s whining and doesn’t tend to draw much sympathy. Also, and this is more on the writer and director, the final scene is supposed to be heartbreaking but for whatever reason rings hollow. For Naveen Andrews, he comes out a bit better and actually has more depth to the point this movie could’ve been called Hasnat. We get to know more about him, yet as I’ve now said twice, who the heck knows what is real and what is conjecture put upon by “friends”.
Overall, Diana was a missed opportunity and even with decent performances from the two leads, the story had too many problems but leaving that aside, it’s just not a compelling movie, one could always point to The Queen where I’m certain some scenes were made up for dramatic effect and yet it still is a fantastic film. This, however, was a disappointment.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
The release comes with a cardboard slip cover which has a strange nearly grating texture.
The only extras are Cast & Crew Interviews (TRT 45:30) including: Naomi Watts (9:17), Naveen Andrews (5:48), Douglas Hodge (3:55), Charles Edwards (2:46), Director Oliver Hirschbiegel (8:46), Producer Robert Bernstein (6:37), Production Designer Kave Quinn (3:24) and Costume Designer Julian Day (4:57). Each one focuses on various aspects of the movie including characters, story or their own line of expertise.
Preview – Twice Born
VIDEO – 4.25/5
Entertainment One releases Diana onto Blu-ray presented with a 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Although the picture doesn’t quite “pop” off the screen or anything but the detail levels are good and the colors appear to be well balanced. When we do get scenes in the dark or at night, the grays and blacks are stark and show no signs of artifacts or pixilation.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track provided isn’t overly aggressive however the dialogue is crisp and clear while the score by David Holmes (Ocean’s movies, Haywire) and Keefus Ciancia (“Nashville”) helps round out the track from the front and rear channels.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Diana relies on innuendo and rumors to complete a romantic story the bulk of which takes place between Diana and Hasnat but even leaving that aside, it’s not a well told story even from a dramatic point of view as it’s hardly effective even at the end which was supposed to be something tragic and heartbreaking. The Blu-ray released by Entertainment One offers good audio/video while the bonus materials are rather limited in scope.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.