First Hit: Although the story was telegraphed from the beginning, it almost worked.
Ambrose Ashley (not credited) owns a large estate on the Cornish coast of England. He’s kind hearted and is guardian to an orphan boy who is his cousin Philip (as an adult Sam Claflin). Because Ambrose is sickly, he goes to Italy to heal in the sunshine.
There Ambrose meets Rachel (Rachel Weisz) who he falls in love with and marries. We know this through the letters he sends some to Philip. Then the letters get fewer and far between but each letter that comes through tells a tale of Ambrose thinking Rachel is poisoning him.
After Ambrose’s death, Philip swears he will kill Rachel if he ever see’s her. Because Ambrose never signed a new will, Philip inherits the estate but will not have sole control until he’s 25. Prior to his 25th birthday Rachel shows up to his home. Instead of disliking her, Philip finds Rachel appropriately humble and thoughtful.
It is obvious that she is not really being kind for the sake of kindness but because she has a plan. This is the failing of the film. There are too many obvious hints that Rachel is at Philip’s estate to make money. There is nothing really hidden. I don’t know if it was the script or acting but I didn’t buy the premise and therefore the ending seemed obvious.
Weisz was strong, beautiful and seductive; however, I think the script had too many breadcrumbs to make it mysterious. Claflin was OK as Philip. He was naïve enough, but again I think the script was overtly obvious and therefore, knowing the story before it unfolds in not a good trait for a film. Iain Glen was strong as Nick Kendall, the role of Philip’s Godfather. I liked the way he carried the aristocracy of his position. Holliday Grainger as Louise Kendall was the best of the lot. Her desire for Philip was perfectly subdued and obvious. Roger Michell wrote and directed this film. It was a mediocre attempt to create suspense and mystery.
Overall: Despite being a good idea, it didn’t quite make it.