A visual feast with a dream cast sadly falls flat on its proverbial face as a turgid script and poor characterisation sucks all the life out of the narrative.
An orphan girl, Sophia (Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl, Ex Machina), is packed off by the Mother Superior (Judi Dench – Skyfall, Philomena) to marry a childless, recently-widowed merchant (Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained, No Time To Die). Respect more than passion rules the Amsterdam home – until Jan van Loos (Dane DeHaan – Life, Lawless) is commissioned to paint the couple’s portrait. A tumultuous change takes place with the crazed and desperate get-rich-quick mania of the tulip bulb market as a fitting backdrop.
Boisterous it may be in the tavern scenes and portside alleys, but, written by Tom Stoppard, Shakespeare In Love it ain’t. Directed by Justin Chadwick (Mandela, The Other Boleyn Girl), it’s passionless and as dull and boring as the ditchwater Sophia flings her portrait blue dress.