Sandy Kenyon reviews Sofia Coppola's 'The Beguiled'

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The 1970 reboot features actor Colin Farrell and director Sofia Coppola.

A role that was made famous by Clint Eastwood in the 1970s is getting a reboot from actor Colin Farrell and director Sofia Coppola.

"The Beguiled" is not a popcorn movie, and despite hopes it would serve as a worthy diversion amid the summer blockbuster season -- a film rather than a movie, made by a serious director who won a prize for it at the Cannes Film Festival -- the picture is dissatisfying.

To make a movie set during the Civil War without a single character who is African American seems dishonest, and the omission is all the more glaring when compared to the earlier version of the film.

The 1971 movie based on a novel was fueled by testosterone, so it makes sense that Coppola would want to put a feminist spin on the story of a wounded soldier allowed to recuperate at an all-girls school.

The soldier is a yankee, meaning these southern ladies are supposed to turn him over to nearby confederate troops. But given the guy is played by Farrell, you can understand their reluctance.

Each woman gets "beguiled" by him, as the soldier disrupts their daily lives. It is an electric situation that could have made for an exciting movie, but Coppola drains all of the energy from it by refusing to let her characters loose.

Her tale unfolds at a pace that can best be called leisurely, though there are moments of sheer genius where you can glimpse how good it might have been had the director been more honest.

Nicole Kidman, who plays the head of the school, is a great actress getting even better with each project. The actresses who are "beguiled" are bewitching in their own way, but all of their efforts aren't enough to make up for the film's failure.

There was no reason to re-make "The Beguiled," which has very little to recommend. The picture leaves you unfulfilled and looking forward to the great work the performers will do in other movies.

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