The Painted Veil

Director: John Curran
Year Released: 2006
Rating: 2.0

A spoiled woman (Naomi Watts) needs to be taught what love is, and infectious disease expert (and milquetoast spouse) Edward Norton is eager to show her - to punish her for an affair with Liev Schreiber, he drags her to cholera-infected China where she comes in touch with grim reality and, naturally, her true love for him. Once its basic point is conveyed it doesn't have much else to offer the mind, and though Norton is one of the finest actors Hollywood employs at the present time, a doctor with an English accent isn't exactly the ideal role for him. I kept trying to get a bead on the politics - anti-China? pro-Catholicism? pro-Imperialism? none of the above? - but Curran is hardly a deep-thinking filmmaker, and the Chinese - for the most part - are depicted as a mindless horde, with the noted exception of the magnificent Anthony Wong (whose role is underwritten … but he makes do).