A little over a month ago it went on sale. ‘The Painted Veil’ (The Painted Veil, 2006), which escaped me at the time, not so much my colleague Juan Luis who saw it when it premiered and made us participants in his misfortune. It can’t be, I told myself, a film with a couple of excellent actors, a story like the old ones and wonderfully photographed exotic settings, plus a soundtrack that stays etched in the memory, it can’t be that bad.

A few days ago I was able to verify that my fellow moviegoer was not so misguided in his appreciation, or at least one server thought more or less the same. Perhaps I liked it more than him, but I must confess that this is one of those films that dazzle with its visual exquisiteness, but when it comes to telling us a story they plunge us into the deepest of boredom, perhaps for a moment. scheme too mechanical and predictable in its narrative structure.

‘The Painted Veil’ tells the story of Kitty in the 1920s, a woman who, to get away from her mother’s womb, marries a young doctor who confesses to being in love with her. Together they move to Shanghai, where she will meet another man with whom she will have a loving relationship. When her husband finds out about her, she will accept a job in a remote part of the country where there is a cholera outbreak. Kitty will be forced to accompany him, and there, far from civilization, they will start a new life.

The film shows us in its first half the trip to that remote place while in numerous flashbacks we are given information on how they got to that situation. All very prepared, very studied and also very evident. From then on, the film focuses on the relationship between the two main characters, following paths that are too well-trodden, prolonging the situation excessively. Something that is presented to us with a truly luxurious packaging. It is impossible not to be amazed by the beautiful landscapes that parade through the film, and wonderfully photographed by Stuart Dryburgh, who gets what is probably his best work here. It is also impossible not to be intoxicated by the excellent soundtrack, enormously descriptive and emotional, the work of Alexandre Desplant, who received a Golden Globe for his work, which curiously was not even nominated for an Oscar. And it is in these two sections where the film gets its best assets, but obviously they do not reach to make us feel the supposed love story that we are seeing.

Of course the actors are at a more than decent heightAbove all, the two main stars, a dedicated, as always, Edward Norton, who composes a character that at first causes us to reject how bland he is, but little by little he progresses until he ends up offering us an interesting character, the only detail of the script harnessed. Next to her, a Naomi Watts as beautiful as ever, although quite careless in the drawing of her character, who seems to make the decisions out of the blue, as an act of rebellion, but then has to lower her head for fear of a public humiliation. The two actors get along quite well, but the chemistry is not as desired. And if the film holds up a bit, it is thanks to the work of the two of them.

Because what is clear is that its director, john curran, who had already offered us the frightful ‘We Are No Longer Two’, is in wanting to tell us a love story that is never interesting to us, due to its reiteration. The director is too obsessed with underlining the framework of the action, dwelling on some things for too long, making the adaptation of W. Somerset Maughan’s novel feel like it has few and brief script lines. Curran films too many silences between the characters, but instead of squeezing them to the maximum, he doesn’t take advantage of it properly, and thus the relationship between the two central characters becomes lacking in punch and without any emotion. Not to mention certain aspects of the script that are too far-fetched, such as Kitty’s relationship with another man, something that appears suddenly and is resolved very abruptly. By the way, said man is played by Liev Schreiber, little enthusiastic about his role.

a lazy movie which is perfect for after lunch, with a really simple story, with landscapes with which you can recall the nature documentaries of the 2, and with which more than one falls peacefully asleep. ‘The Painted Veil’ produces the same sensation.