1 October 2007 | bob the moo
Offers nothing new - will probably satisfy those Daily Mail readers looking to get a bit weepy but has nothing for the casual viewer
I can still remember the summer when Diana died I had stayed in halls of residence in England so that I could work through the summer. On the night in particular I was tired and had fallen asleep watching some video or other. It played until the middle of the morning when the tape stopped and normal TV returned at a higher volume. It was on BBC1 and the news told me that Princess Diana had been in a car crash; I watched for a bit and then fell back to sleep. By the time I woke up again she had died and a week of cultural significance began. Personally I did not take part in the week of very public mourning but I look back with interest on the week as part of changing how the UK acts as well as other aspects such as the modernising of the Monarchy and also the rise of Tony Blair's Labour Government.
There are plenty of films that do a good job of looking back at this period whether it is the personal aspect or the impact on the country as a whole, however this film is not one of them as it delivers a mix of sanitised melodrama and worthless talking heads contributions. The film doesn't provide any real insight or historical context to the story and indeed it is like seeing the basics played out for you. I speak as someone who doesn't read tabloids and never really had too much of an interest in her life of yachts, 5* hotels and so on but yet I managed to watch this without learning anything of significance that I didn't already know.
So why was this made then, if it adds nothing? Well, the simple answer is that this is a cash-in on the anniversary of her death, feeding the masses who are still hungry for tattle about her. As a result it goes ahead with the minimum of effort and lots of "artistic" license to avoid any thoughtful investigation. The contributions are so-so, with nobody really having much to say of any real interest. The cast have nothing in the material to work with. Naturally O'Reilly is perfect and simpering throughout albeit a lot less annoying that the real deal. Baladi is a solid presence and comes over a more of a person despite not having much either. The two bodyguards are the more convincing in terms of their performances.
Overall then a typically cheap and exploitative docudrama on the death of Diana. It offers nothing new and, while it will probably satisfy those Daily Mail readers looking to get a bit weepy, it offered me nothing as a casual viewer.