Liz and Dick (2012) – USA

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 23th February 2013

Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Grant Bowler
Directed by: Lloyd Kramer

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Don’t get me wrong, “Liz and Dick” is a terrible movie that is poorly scripted, unapologetically directed and pretty much have the looks of a cheap TV style production all round. However, while Lindsay Lohan by no means managed to put in a performance she can claim to be proud of, there are some genuine moments where she shines beyond the paper-thin scripted material. There are a few bright spots in the latest capture of the decade long high profile relationship between one of Hollywood’s most famous couple, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Australian actor Grant Bowler flairs the best and manages to deliver a Shakespearean-like character and rarely resorts to overacting that Lohan constantly suffers from. Veteran TV movie director Lloyd Kramer is terrible show exactly why he will forever be stuck behind the TV-cameras rather than cinematic screens. The constant use of close up is almost unforgivable and the astounding lack of cinematography adds to be poor quality production values and overall feel of the film. The best bits in the film is undoubtedly the breaking of the third wall interview of Taylor and Burton, but as a film, “Liz and Dick” is never coherent, the actors are never truly allow to stay in a scene or a scenario, before the use of obvious cinematic short cuts appears in the lines of “after 6 months” or “2 years later”. All these adds to the overall nature of how bad and uneven “Liz and Dick” really is and therefore to fully blame Lohan for everything is truly unjustified.

The much awaited comeback from former Hollywood star Lindsay Lohan is probably the only reason for this film to be seen. While Lohan constantly overacts and tries too hard in looking like Elizabeth Taylor, she succeeds in bringing out the vulnerability of Taylor’s character and the insecurity within that ultimately led to the fall out of the decade long relationship. The final scene where Lohan wept at the grave provides the film with one of its rare moments of quality. However as noted before, those moments are far and in-between and the result is not a performance Lohan can be proud of, but it is still far from critical ashamed. No matter how you look at it, Lohan still have that unique screen presence about her that glues the audience to the screen, even if it is not for the right reasons. Grant Bowler shines through in his role as Richard Burton and Taylor’s love of her life. In a role that can easily go overboard, limited by a poor script, required to delivery corny and cheesy dialogue and above all, having to put up with plenty of pointless close up shots, Bowler managed to hold his own and come through unscratched. That alone is an accomplishment by all means and perhaps a Hollywood breakthrough might just be around the corner for the “Blue Heelers” Australian actor. I wouldn’t go on to say that Lohan and Bowler lacks chemistry as there are moments of credible sparks, but the hack editing and cutting of scenes makes it difficult for anyone to care for either of the character’s fate.

All in all, “Liz and Dick” is a bad movie and as with all terrible films, it cannot be due to a single factor alone. Lohan might have her share of problems and issues, but the film suffers from a bigger issue on hand, namely cheap production values, a hack of a scriptwriter in Christopher Monger and a director that is more concerned with unnecessary close up shots than telling a story. Sure, Lohan is laughable at times, but in between the moments, there are some scenes where she flairs better than others. Still, no matter how you see it, “Liz and Dick” is a perfect example of everything bad about TV-movie productions and without Lohan, nobody will even bother to sit through the film alone. Hate her or despite her, it is Lohan that gets you through the film, no matter what your intention remains. This is a bad film and nothing more. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 3/10

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