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Total Film

December 2007

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Director François Girard
Starring Michael Pitt, Keira Knightley, Alfred Molina
Cert 15

Rating **

Michael Pitt stars as a 19th-century French merchant who makes the perilous journey to Japan to smuggle silkworm eggs back to his town’s silk factories. And if you’re not already scraping your jaw off the floor at that bombshell, wait ’til you see the film, in which Pitt – who’s quality when playing slacker kooks (Murder By Numbers) and Kurt Cobain (Last Days) – couldn’t be more out of place if he broke into a chorus of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ while dining with the samurai. But his fatal miscasting isn’t Silk’s only flaw. There’s a threadbare role for Keira Knightley as his loyal wife, while Francois Girard’s sluggish storytelling enlivens neither Pitt’s infatuation with a local concubine nor the stubbornly feudal society it’s set against. Worst of all, though, you just never give a toss.

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