By privileging the white characters in its narrative, Victoria & Abdul exposes itself as insidiously hypocritical.
Lake Bell and Simon Pegg’s star wattage isn’t enough to distract from the sense that their characters are almost exclusively defined by their single-ness.
As is often the case in films like this, Seventh Son is at its weakest when it tries to leaven its brink-of-disaster gravity with a little nerdy humor.
For these family units, incest seems the natural endgame of a merit system based on pernicious nepotism and inveterate ass-kissing.
There’s no sense of visual artifice to match the ludicrous pitch of the script, and subsequently, the film comes off as awkward and uncertain.
The film’s visual construction is spare, drawing power from its locations and quietly matted miniatures, though ultimately it succumbs to powering a series of cheap thrills.
Joe Wright crafts an engrossing, literate film, treading water even under the weight of its director’s misguided ambitions.