Following his adaptations of Pride & Prejudice and Anna Karenina, Joe Wright next turns his attentions to J.M. Barrie’s boy who never grew up. But instead of bringing the adventures of Peter, Wendy and Captain Hook to the big screen, Pan is a prequel, charting Peter’s arrival in Neverland and showdown with legendary pirate Blackbeard. What’s most surprising is that despite pushing fans well outside their comfort zones, Pan actually proves relatively entertaining.
For what is purported to be his final theatrical release, director Steven Soderbergh goes for a pulpy trashy thriller rather than anything too highbrow. Rooney Mara plays a troubled young wife whose dependancy on prescription medication has increasingly violent consequences. Channing Tatum plays her recently released husband, whose white collar crimes saw him incarcerated. Jude Law is the psychiatrist caught up in the case, while Catherine Zeta Jones’ high profile shrink is also pulled into this increasingly noirish thriller.
Some people have really taken against the genre-indebted nature of the film, but much like how Danny Boyle refused to go high brow with his latest film, Trance, Soderbergh is clearly out to have fun, and his cast duly delivers. Whether this proves to be Soderbergh’s directorial swan song remains to be seen (his subsequent TV movie Behind the Candelabra has been getting theatrical releases around the world), this should be taken as a playful wink rather than a final bow.