Peter Greenaway's Darwin is a revisionist biopic that chronicles the life of Charles Darwin in an incredibly meticulous way. The film is split up into 18 tableaux, with the film covering everything from the details of Darwin's birth, to his publication of his Theory of Evolution, and ultimate death and burial at Westminster Abbey. With of runtime of under 60 minutes, Darwin was made for British television though it's hard to tell given the film's approach. Each of the 18 tableux are filmed in single long takes, with compositions that beckon to the time period. It's similar to how one would watch a stage play, with the camera simply serving as a window into Darwin's world. That isn't to say the film isn't a visual feast, with Greenaway using a few instances of surreal imagery and sumutous art design to create a beautiful film which still features Greenaway's trademark Mise-en-scene. As involved as Greenaway's Darwin is, the film doesn't really set out to give a biopic of Darwin in the traditional sense but rather encapsulate how Darwin's experiences shaped his theories and subsequently the world. With a somber narration encapsulating the whole film, it's more intellectualy driven than emotionally driven in informing the viewer of Darwin's life. Don't get me wrong, the film does touch on Darwin's relationship with his wife as well as their children, but even in dissecting these relationships the film demonstrates how Darwin's mind was never at rest, always questioning creationism, evolution and our existence in general. Peter Greenaway's Darwin is an academic dissection of Darwin's theories as well as the subsequent politcal & relgious upheaveal they incited and while it certainly isn't for everyone, those interested in Darwin's theories should certainly seek this film out.
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