August 31, 2013 marked the 16th death anniversary of the former Princess of Wales, Diana. Her life came to an unfortunate end in Paris, in a high-speed crash while travelling with Dodi Fayer.
Inspired by Kate Snell’s Diana: Her Last Love, German filmmaker, Oliver Hirschbiegel, details the final two years of the Princess’s life leading up to the fatal accident through the biopic, Diana.
The life of Princess Diana can be perceived in two different but endearing ways. For the outer world , it was a rich drama about the love affair between a highly self-conscious, media savvy celeb with a Pakistani heart surgeon that eventually ended in a tragedy. On the other hand this is a profound tale of a passionate romance between a woman who craved for love and a man who saw in her what the rest failed to see.
You have the freedom to choose the perspective through which you watch the film. Anyway, it is a love story.
The movie is a chronicle culminating various snippets of Diana’s (Naomi Watts) life and eventually concentrating on her affair with Pakistani heart surgeon, Dr. Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews).
The story explores the on-off courtship between two contradictory personalities and how it blossoms into a full-fledged relationship from a casual meeting. Diana portrays the late Princess as a mortal being who desires love and companionship and how like any other woman puts in the extra effort to make the relationship work.
Neither the plot of the movie nor the characters are completely perfect or completely imperfect, that makes the biopic safely detach itself from reality and opt for a more neutral presentation.
Also, instead of depicting Diana as a graceful & enigmatic personality, the movie showcases her as a manipulative woman, who delibrately leaked her photos with Dodi to the media.
Owing to such defects, the screenplay seems to be distracted and whimsical. Even the dialogues are just about average.
Naomi Watts as Diana has tried her best to imitate the larger-than-life Diana onscreen. Though she managed to bring out the coy smile and compassionate gaze, she totally missed out on the aura and grace that the Princess possessed. Naomi fell flat in representing the Princess, who was once considered as one among the most beautiful women in the world. Naomi definitely didn’t hit the mark! Naveen Andrews as the handsome, jazz-loving, chain-smoking, Dr. Hasnat Khan couldn’t do justice to the character. Although, he was miles ahead of Naomi Watts. Together they looked charming, at times but definitely struggled to create an admirable and real chemistry.
The cinematography doesn’t add much to the plot. It felt tacky. Apart from the scenic beauty of the various places shown in the biopic, none of the scenes have a touch of aesthetic sense. Even the sound effects are too dull to keep one hooked to the screen.
Oliver Hirschbiegel of ‘Downfall’ fame who received an Oscar nomination for depicting the final years of Hitler in his Berlin bunker, fails to create the same magic through Diana. In short, Diana is a big disappointment.