With Justin Chadwick‘s Tulip Fever (Weinstein Co., 9.1) finally opening after nearly three years of test screenings, re-edits and release-date shifts, Vulture‘s Kyle Buchanan has attributed the shoddy treatment to the 17th Century historical drama being a tweener — i.e., neither award-worthy nor juicy enough.
If you ask me the avoidance is due to three factors: (1) the word “tulip” in the title, which implies a certain painterly stillness or lack of narrative propulsion, (2) the casting of runt-sized Dane DeHaan as Alicia Vikander‘s romantic suitor and (3) Christoph Waltz as her cuckolded husband. Nobody wants to hang with those guys in this context…nobody.
From “Skeptical, A Certain Distance,” posted on 4.29.16:
“You can tell Tulip Fever is a carefully honed, well-crafted thing. The cinematography by Eigl Bryld (In Bruges) is obviously handsome; ditto the production design. It’s probably safe to assume that the screenplay by Tom Stoppard, based on a book by Deborah Moggach, will have a certain rhyme.
“But it has Christoph Waltz once again playing a cuckold with a much younger wife. His last outing in this realm was in Water for Elephants, in which Reese Witherspoon cheated on him with Robert Pattinson. This time it’s Alicia Vikander having it off with pint-sized portrait artist Dane DeHaan (who replaced the much brawnier Matthias Schoenaerts).
“The Dutch locale and the portrait painting also recall The Girl With a Pearl Earring. Not to mention those ridiculous 17th Century collars that Waltz has to wear. Fairly or not, it just feels like recycled material.
The best comment was supplied by HE reader “Professor Wagstaff”, to wit: “Tulip Fever is like that fake art movie from Ghost World called The Flower That Drank the Moon.”