Not technically a re-make of Alfred Hitchcock's first American film in 1940, "Rebecca" is based on the same 1938 Gothic novel by Dame Daphne du Maurier. Fans of the Hitchcock movie will quickly realize that A) Director Ben Wheatley is no Alfred Hitchcock, B) Lily James is good, but is no Joan Fontaine, and C) Armie Hammer is definitely no Laurence Olivier.
So if you're familiar with the film, it will fall short as an unworthy copy of the movie you know...and for everyone else who just learned a paragraph ago about Hitchcock's version, this "Rebecca" won't register as more than an empty drama.
Looming large over the entire story is the title character, Rebecca, but the most important character in the film never appears. Rebecca is the late wife of English aristocrat Maxim de Winter (Hammer), and the memory of his former wife - her "presence" in his vast mansion - makes her a major player. Her effects play out mostly through the eyes of the new Mrs. de Winter (James), who falls in love but then quickly realizes that Rebecca's shadow is not easily cast away.
The fabulous Ann Dowd and Kristin Scott Thomas also star, and while the sweeping English coastline makes for some beautiful backdrops, there isn't a lot of meat on the bones of "Rebecca." Something feels...missing...just off-camera, and it's no fault of the actors, but this is a yawner. It's a thriller with few thrills, a drama that doesn't include much drama, and a mystery that isn't worth investing in.
You'll forget about "Rebecca" much sooner than any of these characters, trust me.
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance.
Run Time: 2 hours 1 minute.
Starring: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Keeley Hawes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sam Riley, Ann Dowd, Bill Paterson.
Directed by Ben Wheatley ("Free Fire," "High-Rise," "Kill LIst").
"Rebecca" is available on Netflix on Wednesday, October 21st, 2020.
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