Rebecca has arrived on Netflix but this romantic thriller will fail to shock audiences like its 1940 predecessor or the Daphne du Maurier novel they are based on.
The film tells the story of an unnamed young woman (Lily James) who marries the wealthy Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer) and moves in with him at Manderley, his imposing family estate on the English coast.
But as she tries to settle into her life as the new Mrs de Winter, she finds herself living under the shadow of her husband’s first wife, the late Rebecca.
What’s more, Rebecca’s legacy is kept alive at the property by its menacing housekeeper, Mrs Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas).
Rebecca on Netflix review
One of the main problems from the outset is American actor Armie Hammer’s absolutely horrible ‘English’ accent, which Brits watching at home might struggle to get past. It’s criminally bad.
But even putting the dodgy accent aside, Armie struggles to bring the sense of mystery and Great Gatsby-esque flare needed to the role. As a result, Maxim ends up coming across as stupidly dull.
The character, particularly when compared with Laurence Olivier, who played the role in the Oscar-winning classic directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is flat and empty-seeming.
Dull palette to match the tone of Rebecca
Visually, Rebecca is filled with hues that fail to match the grandeur of Mrs de Winter’s new life and the setting she finds herself in.
Rather than looking beautiful, or even darkly sinister, the film has a dry, monotonous palette. It reflects just how boring it turned out overall.
Prepare to nod off if you’re watching it late with the lights off.
Making matters worse, you can see how much potential Netflix‘s Rebecca had. There are scenes that are clearly meant to be tense. There’s one where Mrs de Winter finds an old boathouse filled with Rebecca’s belongings.
But the bland way its characters act in such scenes make it seem as though they’re sleepwalking through the whole thing. Prepare to nod off yourself if you’re watching it late with the lights off!
A far cry from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic
Director Ben Wheatley would have been much better off putting his own unique spin on this much-loved tale. But instead, it sticks too close to the source material – and ends up vastly overshadowed by it.
One of the best things about Rebecca is that they cast Kristin Scott Thomas as Mrs Danvers. She is perfect for it and oozes quiet menace with every line she delivers. Lily James also does her best and brings some charm to the lead role.
Die hard fans of Lily James, or those who haven’t seen the original film or read the novel, might find something to enjoy in this otherwise flaccid Netflix thriller – but only because they don’t know how good this snoozefest could have been.
– Rebecca is available to stream now on Netflix
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