The Good Life

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


By R. Kurt Osenlund, The Good Life film critic

She hasn't exactly starred in the year's best films, but 24-year-old English actress Gemma Arterton has certainly broadened her rep as a bona fide screen siren since her appearance as a Bond girl in 2008's "Quantum of Solace." Born in Kent and trained at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Arterton recently brought her enchanting presence to the fantasy flicks "Clash of the Titans" and "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," making her 2010's go-to gal for swords-and-sandals swashbucklers.

I griped that Arterton's roles in the two films were too similar (which they are), and every actor should strive to avoid typecasting. But there's no denying this brunette beauty's suitability for the fantasy genre, her gorgeous voice designed for mystical narration and her exotic looks just begging to be complimented by flowy period garb.

Arterton's work in "Clash" is more indicative of her talents than her performance in "Prince of Persia," partly because the stakes are higher in "Clash" and it is, however slightly, a better film than Disney's artificial video game adaptation. In both, Arterton portrays the hunky hero's crush/confidant who is instrumental in his triumph given her magical link to the gods.

Next up, Arterton plays the lead in "Tamara Drewe," a drama that premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and is directed by Academy Award nominee Stephen Frears ("The Queen"). The film is an adaptation of a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds, which itself is an update of the 1874 novel "Far From the Maddening Crowd" by Thomas Hardy. Incidentally, Arterton's breakthrough role was in the BBC miniseries "Tess of the D'Urbervilles," also adapted from a Hardy book.


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