Robert Pattinson is no stranger to stardom. The 31-year-old British actor has been appearing in movies for years and is best known for his role as Cedric Diggory in the “Dark Knight” series. But his latest project, “Chamber of Secrets,” is arguably his most ambitious to date. Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s popular Harry Potter series, the thriller stars Pattinson alongside Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson as three estranged siblings who are threatened by a powerful new organization known as Heeley Enterprises.
The film has been met with rave reviews and is currently sitting pretty on the box office charts, having taken in $7.2 million USD at the box office thus far.
Pattinson’s Bid For Cinematic Ambiance
If you’ve been following Hollywood trends for the past few years, you may have noticed that movies are gaining a more sophisticated look, drawing from all aspects of popular culture to create something unique and memorable. After helming Oscar-nominated films “The Rover” and “Pride & Prejudice,” director James Grey set out to bring a fresh take on the classic thriller genre.
“‘Pride & Prejudice’ and ‘The Rover’ were such cinematic triumphs, and in some ways, they still feel somewhat traditional,” Grey told HuffPost UK in an interview earlier this year. “I always feel like I want to push the boundaries of what a film can be, so that’s what I tried to do with this one.”
Grey’s cinematic sensibilities are immediately apparent in “Chamber of Secrets.” Beginning with an image that will linger in your mind for the rest of the film, the director opens with a series of scenes that masterfully combine dazzling visual effects with a gripping narrative that quickly sets the stage for the dangerous game of cat and mouse that the film will explore.
The first shot is a magnificent panning shot that combines the blackness of night with a brilliant blue sky, a technique known as a “pyroballoon.” The view is of a huge urban landscape that slowly comes into focus, revealing glimpses of a tangled web of city streets as lights flicker on in the background. What we see is the culmination of a battle between light and darkness, with a shadowy figure approaching a lit street lamp from the shadows of a building.
The visual effects team at Method Studios put in a lot of hours crafting this image, using a combination of practical and digital effects to create the illusion that the figure is walking towards us.
“As it pans across, you really get this sense that something sinister is lurking just beyond the edge of the frame, and it perfectly sets the mood for what’s to come,” Grey said.
The Mystery of the Secret Chamber
“Chamber of Secrets” is an origin story about two rival brothers on a race against time to stop a secret society led by the diabolically brilliant Harry Potter from awakening an ancient demon known as Theta. The film’s tagline, “An adventure in the finest tradition of Sherlock Holmes,” is more than accurate; based on the clues dropped by characters throughout the film, we are left to piece together a riddle that requires solving. And, of course, it’s a mad-scientist-in-hiding-in-a-mystical-chamber mystery, so there’s that as well.
The trailer for the film certainly does not do it justice, but it’s well worth a watch if you’re interested in an epic tale of suspense that will leave an impression on you.
Although the trailer gives us a good idea of what to expect, the final product is certainly not what you’d call a “cookie cutter” movie. It’s more of a blend of all the different genres that Grey loves, putting together something original and exciting. Much like the wonderful “Harry Potter” series that the film is inspired by, “Chamber of Secrets” is definitely not for the faint of heart.
A Different Take On Harry Potter
“Chamber of Secrets” is very much its own entity, a complete rework of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. While the eight movies that comprise the original “Harry Potter” series are set in the 1920s, this film is firmly set in the modern day, and many of the story points hark back to the Potter books such as the use of magic and the presence of ghosts. While the original “Harry Potter” movies were directed by David Yates, “Chamber of Secrets” is directed by Grey, who recently helmed the critically acclaimed indie film “The Innocents.”
Along with the trailer, Grey released an image showing a glimpse of one of the film’s many spectacular sets, a high-tech wizardry laboratory that plays an integral part in the mystery and tension of the story. The image reveals the scope of the art department’s efforts, with intricate models, costumes, and sets that capture the imagination.
The film’s main antagonist, Lord Voldemort (Reeve Carney), is one of the most complex and multi-layered characters in movie history. We first meet him as a middle-aged man in a wheelchair who is being cared for by his “mudblood” half-brothers, Salazar (Jude Law) and Avada (Tony Blair), who are revealed to be part of a vast, diabolical conspiracy that will bring down not only the heroic Harry Potter, but also Voldemort’s own family. Voldemort is a fantastic character who combines arrogance, insanity, and genius into one terrifying package.
Watson’s Grand Tour
As if the story and characters were not complex enough, “Chamber of Secrets” features one of the most interesting casts ever assembled for a film. Emma Watson, who you’ll remember from her role as the fairest of them all in “Harry Potter” and the recent live-action “Mary Poppins,” stars as Belle, the eponymous heroine of Disney’s animated classic “Beauty and the Beast.” This is the culmination of a long-gestating project, as Watson originally was set to star in a live-action version of the classic tale back in 2010.
In addition to Watson, “Chamber of Secrets” features Saoirse Ronan as the eponymous heroine, a headstrong young woman who befriends a troubled young man (Pattinson) and navigates both their opposing worlds. The film also stars Jude Law and Anthony Blair as Salazar and Avada, respectively, and Ian McKellen as the legendary Sherlock Holmes. For a complete list of the main cast and characters, click here.
What’s Next For Robert Pattinson?
Pattinson recently wrapped production on “Prides & Prejudices,” a contemporary retelling of the oft-filmed Victorian tale starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. The two-time Oscar winner is also attached to star in “The Lost City of Z,” about the 1919 expedition that uncovered the Amazon as we know it. “City of Z” is being produced by Alfred Hitchcock and Barbara Hoffmann and will be directed by Roger Michell, who also helmed the 1997 Oscar-winning film “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”
In addition to these upcoming projects, which are expected to be released in the next few years, the busy actor has several movies lined up for release in the coming months, including the fantasy adventure “Highlander,” based on the international bestselling series of books by William Gibson. And then there’s that whole Cursed Planet thing that he’s promoting…