Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and in Sofia Coppola’s film The Beguiled, that wrath is expanded sevenfold as Colin Farrell’s injured soldier Corporal John McBurney learns the hard way that he shouldn't mess with a group of admiring women.
Set in Virginia during the American Civil War, The Beguiled is a seductively sinister drama that is at times blackly comic. A group of schoolgirls are virtual prisoners inside their boarding house in America’s Deep South while the war rages around them. When young schoolgirl Amy finds injured soldier McBurney half dead in the woods, she helps him back to the house where he’s left in the care of teacher Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman), her assistant Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) and the rest of the girls at the school.
But McBurney’s presence soon proves a distraction for the girls, each in their own unique way, as one by one they attempt to win his favour. As emotions run ever deeper and tensions heighten, McBurney is left in a very perilous situation.
Director Sofia Coppola has created an edgy, entertaining remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood classic, using Farrell’s charm and attractiveness to great effect as the victim, charmer, then raging inferno that is the ruined McBurney. Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst are excellent as the prim, restrained ‘adults’ of the school who let their façade slide in the face this handsome man with a silver tongue. Elle Fanning is simply dangerous as Alicia, the 17-year-old who attempts to seduce the Corporal at every chance she gets.
At times explosive and frightening, The Beguiled is a slow-release thriller that will leave you in no doubt as to just how dangerous lust and longing can be.
The Beguiled is on general release from Thursday 13 July.