PAUL BETTANY JENNIFER CONNELLY JEREMY NORTHAM TOBY JONES
The idea of a film behind the history of Charles Darwin sounds interesting, but the title alludes to a dangerous exploration topic which will instantly have audiences divided. Director Jon Amiel (Entrapment) very carefully walks the line between a film about the creation of the evolutionary theory and the effect on Christianity. Oscar nominee Bettany and his Oscar winning wife Connelly reteam for the first time since A Beautiful Mind actually playing husband and wife on screen. Their performances are the highlight of the film that suffers from skirting around the true heart of this screenplay.
After years of studying and working on his theory that has become known as evolution, Charles Darwin (Bettany) has made himself ill, fighting with himself over whether or not to publish scientific research that in his mind proves God doesn’t exist. His faithfully religious wife Emma (Connelly) admires her brilliant husband and gives her opinion on the matter but doesn’t stand in his way. Tormented by the death of his eldest daughter that haunts him, Charles finally put his research on paper allowing his beloved wife to decide the fate of his work that both understand will change everything we know.
A risky film for both Bettany and Connelly, not only in subject matter but roles like this can affect an actor’s fan base. Perhaps a mixed blessing, Creation was neither widely distributed nor talked about. The heart of the film is the relationship between Charles and Emma, but Amiel focuses nearly the entirety of the picture on Charles inner confrontation with his dead daughter and paranoia. The role of Charles is very similar to the one Russell Crowe portrayed in A Beautiful Mind, however in that film it was Bettany playing the imaginary character.
Using Creation in science or history classes might be the most welcome place for a film like this, but as far as entertaining or creating a real dynamic for thought provoking conversation, this film plays it safe. The cinematography and musical score are good enough to prove to the viewer that this film was taken seriously, but the movie as a whole just lacks the soul one might expect from such a controversial topic. I also felt the modern editing played a disservice to the film which would have benefited from a more traditional, straight forward style. The film’s trailer really showcases the highlights from the movie.
Final Thought – Not the groundbreaking, controversial film it pretends to be.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Jennifer Gih