Winter's Tale

By Di Golding

Mailed on February 23, 2014

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Dear Marko Costanzo
Foley Artist

Dear Marko,

Being a foley artist must be a fun job. You get to use common objects to recreate every nuance of sound that isn’t picked up on set. This must train your ears to be extra sensitive to the everyday sounds that go unnoticed by the average person.

How is it, then, that you didn’t hear the ticking noise when this bomb got dropped in your lap?

I’m sure for a man of your talents, the script sounded pretty juicy: horse hoofs-stepping on cobblestone, clanging iron gates, rusty locks opening, a safe being cracked, a coal furnace on the verge of explosion, gunshots, punches. Lots for you to do here. In one of the first scenes, a coin is flipped in the air and makes a satisfying ping sound. Coincidentally, that was the exact same noise my disbelief made as it broke free from the tenuous wire upon which it had been suspended.

It’s not your fault. If you gave a six-year-old a Skittles and Red Bull smoothie and asked him to tell you a love story about a magical white horse and a beautiful girl that lives in a tent on top of a mansion, he couldn’t possibly come up with anything as fantastical and rambling as Winter’s Tale.

Perhaps you can help me out here. I think it goes something like this: an orphaned thief is pursued by the menacing gang leader who works for the Devil, and one night breaks into a mansion where he is thwarted by a squeaky floorboard that exposes his intentions to a wealthy young woman dying of consumption. They fall in love and flee to her family estate beside a frozen lake, where after one romantic night together, she dies and he becomes immortal. And then he appears as an amnesiac in modern day New York where he meets another girl…who also happens to be dying.

Or something like that. I’m not even sure. Maybe I should just ask the six-year-old.

Lucifer, played by Will Smith (who appears to have mistakenly wandered in from one of his kid’s video shoots, which must explain why he’s wearing Hammer pants in 19th century New York), vainly attempts to lay out the larger theme for us: everyone has a miracle inside of them. In this world, some people can be reincarnated and those in heaven have the choice to come back and walk the earth as mortals. Now, I’m not religious, but I did find myself praying for this movie to redeem itself. Will the orphan with a heart-of-gold and the beautiful dead girl be reunited? Will Russell Crowe’s menacing Perley Soames and his henchmen get their comeuppance? Is Jennifer Connelly’s daughter going to live? Not once did I fear that bad things wouldn’t happen to the bad people and good things would happen to the good people. The tension in this film is so slack you could cut it with a dead trout. There’s a new foley sound for you!

With it’s chilly, saturated jewel tones and sumptuous Edwardian sets, this film, on its surface, is stunning. The leads have genuine chemistry; Jessica Brown Findlay looks like a Botticelli painting and Colin Farrell’s face isn’t quite as punchable as usual (quite a feat considering he’s meant to be playing a 21-year-old). The action scenes are also well-shot, the CGI elements aren’t obtrusive, and your foley work compliments it all wonderfully. I don’t doubt that everyone brought their A-game to this film, but when the story is as tedious as this one, none of the details matter.

Sadly, there’s no sound effect loud enough to mask the sound of suck.

Hoping to hear form you again,


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