Dream House (2011) Directed by Jim Sheridan. With Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts.
Considering the wealth of talent involved, Dream House really ought to be a whole lot better than it is. Director, Jim Sheridan opts for an old-fashioned approach, more or less shunning CGI and visual thrills in favour of building character and story. “Great start” – you might say, but unfortunately – the end result is no more memorable than a textbook trip to the loo.
To explain the plot in this review would go most of the way to spoiling any surprises as it’s after only twenty-or-so-minutes that we’re served a significant reveal that you’d usually expect to see in the final reel. There’s a feeling of having ‘sat through’ Dream House, as opposed to having been engaged by it. With acting talent as developed as Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts on show, it speaks volumes of the script that neither actress is able to conjure any significant sense of character – while Daniel Craig in the central role is hard to accept, especially given the prevalence at this stage in his career of James Bond. It sounds harsh to criticise an actor for things beyond his control, but Bond is such a recognised brand, marketed globally; featuring so prominently in popular culture that any actor who dons the tux almost signs over a certain period of their career to being perceived as that character. Watching Craig looking confused throughout Dream House makes you assume that it stems from him wondering why he’s not on a Bond set.
If you intend to see the film regardless of what I’ve said here, then I have one critical piece of advice. Avoid the trailer! The trailer for must rank among the most ‘spoilerific’ ever produced and acts as little more than a join-the-dots summary of the events. My summary is that while it might seem an attractive proposition on the surface, its dream cast can’t knit much together thanks to seen-it-all-before plot devices and underdeveloped characters. 1.5/5