An Anglo-Indian film,starring Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson and directed by Gurinder Chadha,Viceroy’s House tells the story of the last days of the British Empire before Indian Independence and the creation of Pakistan..
Bonneville and Anderson play the Mountbatten’s,the last Viceroy’s to India,there to oversee the final days and to make sure all things run as smoothly as possible.Meanhwile,downstairs,a new recruit to the staff discovers that he is now working with the love of his life,who abandoned him years ago because of her different faith to his and is now waiting for her husband-to-be to return from England where he has been fighting for his Queen in WW2.Will true love prevail? meanwhile,the staff,are now at loggerheads with each other due to the splitting up of the Indian nation and friends are now becoming enemies,will reason prevail?
The film starts of with a firm British stiff upper-lip “not in front of the natives,dear” as the Mountbatten’s come to terms with where they are and what really has to be done for the best of the country whilst devious hands shift behind the scenes and the casting of Bonneville and Anderson in both the roles is quite admirable for they fit the roles perfectly but this is half the problem I had with the film,it’s all a bit beige,all a bit safely,safely.It has the cutting edge storyline of a worn out hacksaw and as much bite as a new-born baby.The film itself can’t decide what it want’s to be,a tale of how India became a nation,a story of partition or a servant’s love story so sub-standard and predictable that you actually hear snippets of My Heart Will Go On playing in the background,giving a not to subtle hint that this love story is basically Titanic without the acting prowess of a Leo and Kate and a large iceberg to finish them off.In the end,what happens here is that you get a mish-mash of the 3 stories that are as delightful as a leftover cold curry.
The acting abilities of Anderson and Bonneville cannot be denied but the whole thing becomes “A Titanic Passage to Downtown Abbey” and almost vanishes in a saccharin sugary swill of stiff upper lipness with one almost hoping for a Sid James spot of “tiffin” from Carry on up the Kyber just to liven things up.
A damp squid of a movie that offered much but delivered little apart from a lukewarm rendition of the final days of the British Empire.the scenery is fine and rather resplendent though but I got the feeling that there was a lot of tiptoe’ing behind the scenes so that no bigwig’s were upset at what was being made..
A rather disappointing affair to be honest but if you fancy something beige and mediocre on a wet afternoon and like boring period drama’s on the tv then it will pass the time without causing any harm..
Joxer Film Rating