Filmed in the picturesque Sicilian city of Noto all through the top of the pandemic lockdown, “Cyrano” is unmistakably a interval piece, transpiring in the 17th century for the duration of the Franco-Spanish War. But it’s also infused with anachronistic touches that give it a jolt of offhand humor and intense urgency. As the movie opens, a dewily radiant — but practically penniless — attractiveness named Roxanne (Haley Bennett) prepares to attend the theater with her oily and insistent suitor, the Duke De Guiche (Ben Mendelsohn). After ensconced, the perform starts, only to be interrupted by Cyrano, who swoops in on a rope and proceeds to insult the guide actor, disrupt the viewers and have interaction the foppish hanger-on Valvert (Joshua James) in a rap battle and duel.
The sequence of anticipation, wordplay and swordsmanship accelerates with balletic vitality, with Wright’s unintrusive digicam generally on the move to capture the motion as well as smaller sized gestures. It’s here that Roxanne locks eyes with Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), and the two drop for just about every other in an immediate. Afterwards, the handsome but inarticulate Christian will enlist the supposedly unhandsome but eloquent Cyrano to woo Roxanne from afar, in a plot of unrequited adore, unspoken motivation and ego-driven self-deceit that has lasted by way of the ages.
I say “supposedly unhandsome” due to the fact, despite the fact that Dinklage’s Cyrano could be considered sexually stymied by his dwarfism, it’s challenging to consider any individual currently being immune to his smoldering enchantment. With his ember-like eyes, soulful face and core of bristling anger, Dinklage offers his character (whose lethal flaw in Rostand’s play was an unattractively significant nose) a demand of pure animal magnetism. Bennett, as the bright but vain and manipulative Roxanne, performs her character with an air of suspicion that some thing may be sparking amongst them, even while their lifelong friendship has been purely platonic. (Then all over again, Roxanne’s lack of ability to get earlier Cyrano’s “unique physique,” in the text of his mate Le Bret, eerily anticipates today’s social media culture in which image is every little thing. ’Twas ever hence.)
What ensues is a person of the excellent tragedies of passionate literature, a heartbreaking exercising in classic irony that serves as a commentary on overall look and truth, facade and authenticity, and human beings’ enduring incapacity to get out of our personal way. Established from stunning actual-existence places (together with a extraordinary wartime sequence filmed on Mount Etna), Wright’s “Cyrano” is bathed in creamy pastels and significantly stylized tones of grey and bone white, the calming palette spiked with occasional shots of crimson, by way of the jackets worn by Cyrano, Christian and their fellow soldiers. The stagecraft, seemingly as inspired by commedia dell’arte tumbles and pirouettes as by grittily naturalistic cinema verite, possesses a buoyant sense of spirit and motion. When Wright arrives in for the occasional close-up, it is to capture the suffering, confusion and longing on his protagonists’ alternately bemused and besotted faces.
“Cyrano” joins a crop of the latest flicks that have sought to revivify the musical kind: Right here, the work is uneven, if in the long run deeply relocating. Although the Dessner brothers’ tracks, with lyrics by bandmate Matt Berninger and Carin Besser, are completely suited to Dinklage’s mellow baritone, they start out to audio repetitive and on-the-nose about the film’s two-hour operating time. Bennett and Harrison are both of those beautiful, lyrical singers, but oddly “Cyrano’s” most shatteringly effective musical minute comes by a trio of cameo players, when Glen Hansard, Sam Amidon and Scott Folan — participating in soldiers about to go to struggle — sing “Wherever I Fall,” an achingly attractive anthem to adore, grief and craving.
That scene feels specifically impacting at a second when the earth apprehensively awaits a further war. “Cyrano,” like the most effective art its implacable hero celebrates, is comprehensive of poetry, romance, terror and truth of the matter. It feels beamed from a distant earlier, but also sprung completely shaped from 21st century anxieties. Wright has specified Rostand and Schmidt’s twin visions his personal signature: fleet, playful and unapologetically fanciful, but also tempered by surpassing sadness and loss. The end result is equivalent pieces coronary heart-rending and haunting.
PG-13. At place theaters. Includes some potent violence, mature thematic aspects, suggestive material and brief coarse language. 124 minutes.