Admiral movie full length review - Good looking movie with storytelling problems
This film has a structure problem. It is not that the story is completely incoherent, but there were a number of moments when I and my partner asked ourselves, "Wait, why did that happen?
" And we know a little bit of Dutch history. I can imagine that for a person who does not, certain events will be even more confusing. The film keeps switching from one thing to another and starts to lose the viewer. Even when it does try to explain things, like a plan for an upcoming battle, it does not do a very good job.
During the action scenes, the camera work adds to this problem. It seems the makers really wanted to show off the explosions and the pretty ships, so you see a lot of those kinds of shots, but those shots do not explain the details of what is actually happening. War stuff is happening. There you go.
Separate from the storytelling, the visuals and the music are good. There are a few cool high-altitude CG shots mixed with real ships, and if you are a fan old ships, this is movie is a must-see. The soundtrack has that epic over-the-top Hans Zimmer feel to it, and during a number of prolonged scenes that have no dialogue, the film starts looking more like a music video. Unfortunately, the good music and visuals just underline the mediocrity of the storytelling. It often doesn't feel like the scene in question has earned to give itself an epic soundtrack.
There is a similar problem with the acting. The acting itself is good but sometimes does not fit with the story. A character will start crying about the death of another character, but the movie had not sufficiently established the close friendship between those two characters and so the reaction feels strange. Again, a structure problem.
It is commendable that the movie's budget is a mere 8 million. The same movie done in the US would have cost at least 100 mil, with 20 paid to Russell Crowe alone (that's a Master and Commander reference, everyone). It is unfortunate that the film will probably not earn a sufficient profit. Michiel De Ruyter is a patriotic Dutch film that portrays the English as dumb**ses. It is centered on Dutch characters, as the name of the movie suggests, and seems to not have much of an international appeal.
This is one of those movies that makes me wish that IMDb had a 6.5 option for scoring. It is alright, but needed to have a more ironed story structure.