A few months ago, Lady Chatterley arrived in theaters. It was a French movie where French actors speaking in French were playing distinctly English characters. The effect was pretty bizarre and distracting. Here comes Silk, based on the novel by Alessandro Barico, where English and American actors are playing French characters without a hint of any European accent. The result here is also strange. How hard is it to get people to speak with a slight accent? There are some extremely gifted actors here, and Michael Pitt.

Pitt (Last Days, The Village) is an actor with a pretty eclectic range of films under his belt. However, if he continues to act like he did here, he will stop getting roles quickly. Pitt is Herve Joncour, a young man who travels to Japan in order to find silkworm eggs. He also has no personality. Pitt speaks and narrates the film with a dull monotone that effectively kills any sort of emotion that director Francois Girard (The Red Violin, Thirty Two Short Stories About Glenn Gould) wants to instill in the scenes. And Silk is all about Joncour, so the movie is effectively dead on arrival.

It's a shame, because everything looks so fantastic. Pitt lives an idyllic life in a small town in France. Baldabiou (Alfred Molina, The Hoax, The Da Vinci Code) single-handedly revives the town by rebuilding the silk farm, and then building three more. A disease kills many of the silkworms in France and the surrounding countries, so Balabiou enlists the help of Joncour, who must make a dangerous trip to Japan in order to get new eggs. There, Joncour espies "The Girl" (Sei Ashina, and madly falls in love with her. Back at home, he is unable to tell his wife Helene (Keira Knightley, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest), who senses her husband becoming increasingly distant.

Girard adapted the movie with Michael Golding, and the bulk of the focus is on the emotional turmoil that Joncour feels. He truly loves Helene, but is drawn to this woman, who, on his first trip to Japan, sees for a few minutes. She doesn't even speak to him. His attraction for he is so strong that he makes up excuses to go back to Japan, even though the trip takes an emotional toll on Helene. However, there is seemingly no vocal inflection at all in Pitt's delivery, so all his proclamations of love and despair sound faked.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 48 minutes, English and Japanese with no English subtitles, Rated R for sexuality and nudity.

Back to Movies