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Attenborough's very traditional biopic is a disappointment. Going for the whole life has meant an even, plodding, surface treatment, and using the device of an old Chaplin reminiscing to the publisher of his autobiography (Hopkins) lends it an air of Desert Island Discs. The one imaginative stroke misfires: Chaplin's trademark bowler and cane magically presenting themselves to him in the props room like refugees from Industrial Light & Magic. The one conspicuous bit of mise en scène - Chaplin and Fairbanks (Kline) clambering about on the Hollywood sign (Hollywoodland: yes, they've done their research) - could have come from a commercial. Downey has captured the idealism and the melancholy, but not the sentimentality of the comic. He has also mastered the pratfalls and the balletics, and there are dazzling demonstrations when he does the drunk in the theatre box and the first impromptu audition for Sennett (Aykroyd), but he isn't funny. This is underlined when clips of the real thing are shown. A bit of a beached whale.

Release details

Duration: 145 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Richard Attenborough
Screenwriter: Bryan Forbes, William Boyd, William Goldman
Cast: Marisa Tomei
Robert Downey Jr
James Woods
Penelope Ann Miller
Anthony Hopkins
Kevin Kline
Nancy Travis
Moira Kelly
Milla Jovovich
Kevin Dunn
Bill Paterson
Paul Rhys
Geraldine Chaplin
John Thaw
Dan Aykroyd
Diana Lane

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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1 person listening
carol wright

Your review of "Cahplen" stinks! I was expecting to hear marvelous things from every reviewer. I've watched the film four times and will probably watch it again. It remains one of my favorites. Downey's performance is just GREAT!