Water For Elephants

Year: 2011
Studio: Fox 2000 Pictures
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Richard LaGravanese/Sara Gruen
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Reese Withersponn, Christoph Waltz, Ken Foree, Hal Holbrook

I felt sure when villain August (Waltz) went one step too far with his pretty wife Marlena (Witherspoon) that Jacob (Pattinson) would start sparkling in the sunlight, flash those dark brown eyes and tear his head off.

Seriously, it's very hard to remind yourself you're not watching Edward the teenage heartthrob vampire, and this film had me wondering if R-Pattz is set for a similar fate as Christopher Reeve, never quite escaping the shadow of the role that made his career.

It's based on the bestselling book of the same name and Jacob is a promising young veterinary student before his parents are killed in Depression-era America. Depressed and having lost everything he becomes an itinerant, falling in with a train-bound travelling circus that's one step ahead of bankruptcy.

He finds himself in the good grace of the cruel ringmaster and leader August and just as beguiled by August's pretty wife Marlena, who does the horse act. After nearly falling victim to August's usual method of punishing interlopers – being thrown off the train - everyone realises his veterinary training might be useful.

The show comes across a performing elephant August is sure will turn their fortunes around and it becomes the focal point for the tensions between the three and burgeoning relationship between Jacob and Marlena as they fall in love, knowing August will kill them both if he finds out.

The film looks great, capturing the colour and texture of the era really well. And despite what you might assume Pattinson isn't the worst actor who ever drew breath. He and his co-stars are perfectly serviceable for a romantic melodrama like this.

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