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Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (Ecosse)

click to enlarge diana.jpg

When Diana premiered to a dismal response from critics and audiences alike, contributor Ali Arikan admitted one saving grace, writing: “to her credit, Naomi Watts does a more-than-passable job of playing Diana.” I can’t say the same. Poorly cast and labouring with less-than-passable dialogue, there aren’t enough acting chops in the celebrity butcher shop for Watts to convincingly portray the legendary Spencer stunner. Diana was uncommonly tall, slim and statuesque---a leggy unknown would have been better than an impossibly-recognizable A-lister who is four inches too short. Lacking more than the right leading lady, this biopic eschews perspective, context and well-rounded characterization. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel has exceptional material---the last years of Diana’s public life and her love affair with the very private Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Kahn (Naveen Andrews)---but he doesn’t do it justice. Gorgeous sets, locations and actors aren’t enough. Hirschbiegel’s film comes off the same way he portrayed the title character’s life: opulent but empty.

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