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Titanic (1997)

Sometimes love must triumph over disaster.

Directed by:

James Cameron

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 189 minutes

UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) is a somewhat ruthless treasure hunter searching for profit under the sea in the debris of the wrecked liner Titanic. In particular, he is searching for a necklace featuring an historic blue diamond that is rumoured to have sunk with the ship. He believes he is on the right track when his crew retrieves a safe in which he finds a sketch of a beautiful woman wearing the diamond. The drawing is shown on a TV news programme, and an old lady called Rose Dawson Calvert (Gloria Stewart) comes forward claiming that she is the woman in the drawing. When questioned by the treasure hunters, she tells them her story.

When she joined the Titanic for her maiden voyage Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet), as she was known then, was 17 years old. Her mother (Frances Fisher) had good breeding but little money, so she was taking Rose to America to marry rich Cal Hockley (Billy Zane) – a match that Rose would rather have avoided. Attempting to commit suicide, she was saved by Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), a raffish and charming third-class passenger. Jack and Rose started to spend time together, ultimately falling in love, in spite of the disapproval of both her mother and Hockley. Hockley would have done anything to prevent Jack seeing Rose, and falsely accused him of theft. However, the historic events that followed were to change everything.

Cameron's "Titanic" is justly recognised as something of a masterpiece. The film cost a phenomenal amount to make, and most of that spending is visible on screen. Everything about it looks sumptuous, and the effects that go into the sinking of the ship are grippingly realistic. The romantic thread is appealing enough, but its greater purpose is to make the effect of the tragedy more personal. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio make a fine job of playing the young couple, although the romance is occasionally rather overdone and DiCaprio does struggle at times to give his character as written any real depth. Although the film is a personal romance set amidst a greater disaster story, it is also the story of Rose's life and the effect her experiences have had on her – and it largely succeeds on all counts.

It's Got: 11 Oscars and a big ship sinking.

It Needs: More depth to the character of Jack.

DVD Extras Very disappointing that there is no Special Edition with behind-the-scenes extras. Extras: Theatrical trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

A Night to Remember, Pearl Harbour, The English Patient.

Summary

James Cameron’s masterwork appeals to audiences of all ages, genders and tastes – however, some people may find the romance too sickly and contrived.

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