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

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

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

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.