PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.
for moments of intense violence and sexual content.
Additional DVD Features: Exclusive Robert Pattinson Spotlight; The Traveling Show - Page to Screen; Feature Performer Reese Witherspoon; Audio Commentary; Closed Caption.
Reese Witherspoon ...
Robert Pattinson ...
Christoph Waltz ...
Paul Schneider ...
Jim Norton ...
Hal Holbrook ...
Based on the acclaimed bestseller about a traveling circus, the narrator is an elderly man named Jacob Jankowski (Hal Holbrook),
who escaped from his nursing home to see the circus passing through
town but arrived too late and wound up telling his tale about how a long ago catastrophe occurred to the current circus
manager (Paul Schneider).
It seems that many years ago young Jake (Robert Pattinson) was about to take his final
veterinarian’s exam at Cornell when he's informed that his hardworking immigrant parents have been killed in a car crash. Left
alone and penniless in the middle of the Great Depression, Jake sets off to look for work but instead winds up on a circus train,
where Camel (Jim Norton), a kindly old hand, got him a
job. Finally the circus’ charismatic but volatile owner August
(Christoph Waltz) makes Jake the company vet.
But trouble quickly arrives when Jake has to put down the show
horse ridden by August’s beautiful wife Marlene (Reese Witherspoon). But before long Jake and Marlene begin working
on a new act involving thecircus’ latest acquisition, an elephant named Rosie. Amazingly, Jake, who’s never worked with a pachyderm before, gets Rosie to do all sorts of tricks which leads to a big finale.
Tentatively directed by music-video director Francis Lawrence, the picture is entirely too slick to
capture the Depression era feeling and way too discreet to be
really exciting. But, worst of all, the casting is totally wrong. Reese Witherspoon is a fine
comedienne, but she comes across as brittle and unconvincing in her
role and Robert Pattinson is little better. Only Christoph Waltz proves once again that he's an actor of
considerable talent, but he has too little to do but
shout and flash his evil, shark-like grin. While the production design, art direction and costumes are effective, Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography is glossy rather than gritty and James Newton Howard’s score is simply sappy. What could have been a real winner, turns out to be somewhat disappointing.