Get ready for a real cheese fest. Tulip Fever is one of those cinematic endeavours that so ferociously misses the mark it threatens to become a morbid curiosity case.
But you’re not here for high-art; this handsomely mounted, floral-scented fiasco is soap-opera pleasure at its guiltiest, and every bit a throwback to that age of Chocolat and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
All the correct ingredients are present: a period piece about the tulip boom in 17th-century Amsterdam and based on Deborah Moggach’s 1999 novel, Tulip Fever was snapped up by the Weinsteins (before you-know-who ruined all that) and they brought in the mischievous playwright Tom Stoppard to write the script and Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) to direct. For a much needed charge of youth and sex, Alicia Vikander plays Sophia. She’s the orphan who makes a marriage of convenience with wealthy merchant Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz). Then she falls hopelessly in love Jan Van Loos (Dane DeHaan), the starving, stringbean artist hired to paint her portrait. This one is for hardcore fans of frocks and Judi Dench. (Jack Whiting)