“Water for Elephants” is a film adaptation of Sara Guen’s novel of the same name. The story, set in the 1930s follows a Polish American, Jacob Jankowski (played by Twilight’s heartthrob Robert Pattinson) who loses his beloved parents in a car accident and subsequently gets his house taken away by the bank due to his father’s debts. So what’s a boy to do after losing such a great deal in life? Join the circus, of course. There at The Benzini Brothers Circus, he meets the beautiful, Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), the star of the show and also a wife of the abusive circus owner August (Christoph Waltz). To cut the story short, Jacob and Marlena fall in love and yes, the forbidden love comes at a big price.
As I was merely born in the 80s, I cannot say for sure the depiction of the Depression-era circus is thoroughly accurate but it certainly is visually appetizing. Combined with the heartrending score by James Newton Howard, eight-time Oscar nominee, fittingly for the nostalgic, narrative-style storytelling, the movie’s picture-perfect cinematography makes the audience forget about the somewhat predictable love triangle tale.
Christoph Waltz, the real scene-stealer here, once again plays a bastard. (He won Oscar for his memorable role as The Jew Hunter in Quentin Tarantino’s nazi flick “Inglorious Basterds”) Waltz portrayal of August Rosenbluth is charming and dapper yet frightening and repulsive. He simultaneously manages to give us a glimpse of why he behaves that way as well which is mesmerizing.Wouldn’t it be difficult but interesting to see him play a nice, sweet guy for a change in one of his future projects? Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson are good actors but there’s not much to be said about their performances. It’s just that there’s not so much chemistry between them. For Pattinson, it is a smart move in his career as he has yet to prove that he is not just a pretty face after movies like “Twilight” but he still has a long way to go. “Water for Elephants” starts out quite promising, falls flat a bit in the middle but quickly picks up with a great climax towards the end. A decent movie. Watching it on DVD, why not?