Why is it that the powers that be in Hollywood think that almost every novel should be turned into a major motion picture? Sometimes the outcome is worthy of the original work but more often than not the results are less than stellar. Part of the problem is that novels usually have so many details that movies would need to be several hours long to fit in all the material found in the books so instead, we are given the condensed version of the plot. Other times the retelling of a beloved story can't live up to our expectations we created in our imaginations. Such is the fate of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch.
The Goldfinch, a 1654 painting, was Theo's (Oakes Fegley; Pete's Dragon and Ansel Elgort; Baby Driver) mother's favorite so she took him to the museum to look at it before they headed to a meeting at Theo's school. However, the small detour would change the trajectory of Theo's life forever. A terrorist brought an explosive device into the wing where Theo and his mom were standing and detonated it, killing Theo's mother. One of the other casualties of the explosion, Welty (Robert Joy; The Hills have Eyes) urges Theo to take the Goldfinch painting along with his ring.
After the attack, Theo goes to live with his friend's family until his father (Luke Wilson; Old School) comes to bring him back home with him to Las Vegas. However, that arrangement would be short-lived, as his father is now taken from him, killed in a car accident. He returns to New York City to live with his friend Hobie (Jeffrey Wright; Westworld).
Years later, after Theo meets up with a childhood friend from his time in Vegas named Boris (Finn Wolfhard; Stranger Things/Aneurin Barnard; Dunkirk), he finds out that Boris took his painting and now the pair head off to Amsterdam to reclaim it. However, things don't go as they plan, and Theo finds himself involved in a shooting and becomes suicidal.
Ansel Elgort has seemingly chosen his roles carefully throughout his career. He has a depth that some actors don't find until later in life. He fits this role well and is balanced out by the rest of the cast which also includes Nicole Kidman (Molin Rouge!) and Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story).
The Goldfinch has stunning visuals that are enhanced by the 1080p resolution and the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The painting is a masterpiece and is displayed beautifully each time it is viewed on screen. Even though the color palette is mainly muted hues and colors the sharpness is terrific. The visuals are matched by the DTS-HD Master Audio 5. The dialogue is clean and the minimal sounds compliment the film beautifully.
Special features included on the Blu-ray are:
- The Goldfinch Unbound - A look at what it took to make the 800-page novel into a feature film. Featuring some of the cast and crew, this segment includes topics on casting, cinematography, screen tests and more.
- The Real Goldfinch - A look into the history of the Carel Fabritius painting and how it was reproduced for the film.
- Deleted Scenes
The New York Times best-selling novel is as magnificent as it is depressing but unfortunately, it didn't translate that well on screen. The cast is terrific but the screenplay is just okay. The picture and sound are wonderful but with only 30 minutes of extras, the combo pack is disappointing to a certain extent.
If you loved the book or are an Elgort fan, you should definitely consider buying this one. Just don't expect a masterpiece.