If there’s something satisfying to “The Wings of the Dove,” it is not in watching yet another set of English people trussed in period costume and finding their (cross out the ones that do not apply) warmer, sexier, darker or doomed selves in Italy.
There is partial satisfaction in director Iain Softley’s and scriptwriter Hossein Amini’s sensual interpretation of Henry James’ dark, impressionistic, turn-of-the-century novel. There’s also a particularly strong performance from Helena Bonham Carter, as Kate, the manipulative, but vulnerable woman who engineers a convoluted strategy to consummate her socially forbidden love with Merton (Linus Roache), a journalist of modest means. She seems to have come into her own.
But many of the scenes have the mundane pace and direction of a TV play; and the great secret of the drama (i.e., Kate’s agenda and its inevitable outcome) becomes clear so early, it reduces the film’s surprise quotient.
It isn’t long before you’re patiently waiting for things to end. (Now playing at Lincoln Heights Cinema Art.) Rated R.