Behind the Mask: Classic story shattered in film by lack of good acting, action

Category: Phantom of the Opera Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: January 21, 2005 | Publication: Pulse | Author: Lindsay Kalvig, Pulse Movie Reviewer
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He lurks in the shadows, never revealing his face. Accidents happen when his orders are not obeyed, and sometimes, people die.

On the surface, "The Phantom of the Opera" sounds like a horror flick. And some parts truly are horrific.

Though operas are all about singing, there's simply too much of it in this movie it fits snugly in the romantic musical category.

The film borders on dull, with the singing following the same one or two songs throughout the entire film, with little dialogue in between.

What is so upsetting about the film is that the story line is actually a good one. For those who do not know the story of the "opera ghost," as the phantom is called in the movie, the plot is clearly set out for viewers from the beginning, never failing to answer the questions that most would pose throughout the duration of the movie.

Christine (Emmy Rossum) is an orphan who has known nothing but the opera house since her father's death. She has grown into a beautiful young woman and dances in the ballet company while others are singing. She has been taking secret lessons from an unknown voice that talks to her in her dreams and when she is alone; a voice she refers to as her "angel of music."

When she is chosen to sing the lead soprano in one of the operas, she is not only thrilled with her newfound fame, but is reunited with her childhood sweetheart, Raoul (Patrick Wilson).

When she finds out her angel of music is none other than the phantom (Gerard Butler), she is unsure of her feelings toward this man who has given her the gift of song. She finds herself attracted to him, but knows in her heart she loves Raoul. When she chooses Raoul, the phantom has other plans in mind for Christine and her knight in shining armor.

While the viewers are immersed in the love triangle, the story is beautifully accessorized by the wonderful special effects and stages that each scene is placed in. The fantastic use of color and the magnificent wardrobes give wonderful contrast to the dark tale being told.

The actors themselves are far from brilliant. With so few lines, the majority of their abilities lie in the singing alone. With the countless number of small parts (one played by Minnie Driver), the one standout actor is Butler. His angst and heartfelt love truly shine through his appearance as the wretched phantom.

Rarely do you see actors allowing their roles to go beyond the masks they're wearing. And although Butler's mask is literal, he does a fabulous job of portraying the real emotion that accompanies his character.