Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 28, 2017


Jeremy Irons and Christine Baranski
REVERSAL OF FORTUNE (1990). Director: Barbet Schroeder.

Claus von Bulow (Jeremy Irons) has already been convicted of twice attempting to murder his wife, Sunny (Glenn Close). Free and at large despite the convictions -- apparently money talks -- Claus hires attorney Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver) to mount an appeal and even prove that von Bulow did not try to murder his wife. As Alan and his team investigate, Claus keeps company with his mistress, Andrea Reynolds (Christine Baranski), who often allied herself to wealthy and powerful men. If there's any problem with Reversal of Fortune is that it's based on Dershowitz' book about the case, which has a limited and limiting perspective. Frankly, a much more dynamic and suspenseful film could have been made about the von Bulow story. That leaves us with the acting. Jeremy Irons [Swann in Love] is excellent as von Bulow, and won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance. Silver [Wiseguy] is okay, with Close and especially Baranski [Bowfinger] being more on the mark. The screenplay fails to explore many of the people and ramifications in depth, and the actors have to do their best with one-dimensional characterizations. Interestingly enough, von Bulow pretty much discarded Reynolds after he had no more use for her and she died a pitiful, lonely, poverty-stricken death many years later. Reversal of Fortune indeed! The real truth of the case may never be known.

Verdict: Certainly entertaining, but somehow you suspect you're only getting part of the real story. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

I like this one a bit more than you do, Bill, it is one of my favorite films--Jeremy Irons is absolutely brilliant as Von Bulow, and Close has a field day playing his damaged wife Sunny. The scene-stealing Uta Hagen (author of Respect for Acting) delivers a line so campily that I quote it to this day: "Insulin? For vhat, insulin?? My lady is not diabetic!!"
Delighted tthat you have covered this one--I need to get around to writing about it myself.

William said...

I'd love to read it when you do! I think you might be interested in googling Andrea Reynolds, where I found an article that went into her subsequent pathetic fate. And von Bulow, I believe, is still around, the old fox.