Restoration

"Good"

Restoration Review


Robert Downey's schizophrenic personality has finally found a home in Restoration. This sweeping film, set in 1660 England during the reign of the flamboyant Charles II (Sam Neill), tells the story of Merivel (Downey), who rides a rollercoaster from volunteer surgeon to King's veterinarian, to his fall from grace and his eventual rebirth.

Merivel, the kind of guy who pawns his medical instruments to buy time with prostitutes, starts out as a pretty loathsome chap. However, he's also a pretty talented (and daring) physician, and after healing the King's beloved spaniel, he is brought into the fold of nobility. But the story then takes an inexplicable turn as Merivel is given a knighthood and coerced to marry the King's mistress, Celia (Polly Walker), and then promptly falls in love with her.

And just when you get used to this, he is discovered and cast out, penniless. Merivel returns to caring for the poor with his old friend Pearce (David Thewlis), and falls in love with one of his insane patients, Katherine (Meg Ryan, cast as an Irish mental patient, if you can imagine that). And then there's the plague and the big fire that burned down London, and Merivel somehow comes out of this a hero and a changed man to boot.

A downright silly script is the fundamental flaw in Restoration. What starts out as a funny, genuine character-driven drama quickly degenerates into a couple of bland love stories that don't even fit together. There's a lot of good acting here (with the notable exception of Ryan), but the parts don't give the stars a lot of room to work. Neill's King Charles is a true standout, pulling off the dichotomy between royal grace and bawdy humor with ease.

Restoration is also one of the most exquisitely rendered period pieces I've ever seen, replete with fully-laden palaces and disgustingly realistic plague victims. But details do not a movie make, and all-in-all, Restoration comes across as a film in which the sum of the parts is much greater than the picture as a whole.



Restoration

Facts and Figures

Run time: 117 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th March 1996

Distributed by: Miramax

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Robert Downey Jr. as Robert Merivel, as Katharine, as King Charles II, as John Pearce, as Elias Finn

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Advertisement
Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.