When a timid Swiss professor (Jeremy Irons) saves a young woman from jumping off a bridge, it leads him on an unpredictable journey to Lisbon and the story of a doctor (Jack Huston) who becomes involved in the resistance movement. Bille August’s take on the critically acclaimed novel is an example of why some books should be left alone. There’s potential for excitement and romance in this portrait of the Portuguese resistance against long-time dictator Salazar in the 1960s and ’70s, but the film is dull and talky. Still, an eclectic cast and nice views from Lisbon.
2013-Germany-Switzerland-Portugal. 111 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Bille August. Novel: Pascal Mercier. Cast: Jeremy Irons (Raimund Gregorius), Mélanie Laurent (Young Estefânia), Jack Huston (Amadeu do Prado), Martina Gedeck, Nicolau Breyner, Bruno Ganz… Christopher Lee, Lena Olin, Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay.
Trivia: Vanessa Redgrave was allegedly first cast, but later replaced by Rampling.