Movies reviewed in brief: "Diana,” "Let the Fire Burn”

  • Updated: November 7, 2013 - 4:23 PM

Members of the radical group Move and children in a 1978 confrontation in a scene from “Let the Fire Burn.”

Photo: Zeitgeist Films,

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⋆⋆½ out of four stars

Rated: PG-13 for brief strong language, some sensuality and smoking

Theater: Inver Grove


Dismiss it as worthy of a Lifetime Original Movie if you want, but “Diana” gives us insights into this poor little royal plaything that Americans, at least, will find eye-opening.

Based on “Diana, Her Last Love,” by Kate Snell, Oliver Hirschbiegel’s film depicts a manipulator practicing her most withering lines about her failed marriage to Prince Charles in front of a mirror.

Outcast from the royal family and not close to her own, Diana (Naomi Watts) only takes counsel from a trusted confidante (Juliet Stevenson) and Oonagh Toffolo, her acupuncturist/confessor (Geraldine James).

But she has a genuine gift for empathy. Dashing into a hospital to visit Toffolo’s ailing husband, she ignores the nurses who swoon in her presence and the doctors who ogle her. But that empathy leads her to cool, handsome and charming heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews).

Their love affair, the strains of celebrity and of being “the most famous woman in the world” in love with a Pakistani Muslim, sucks up the bulk of “Diana.”

Watts masters Diana’s look — the way she carried her head and used those wide, coyly expressive eyes — but is only passable at impersonating the voice. It’s a studied performance that doesn’t give away the wheels turning as Diana plays the angles to try and get what she wants out of the royal family, the press, her doctor-lover and her life.


Let the Fire Burn

⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars

Unrated: mature themes, violence, language, brief nudity.

Theater: Lagoon


Jason Osder’s stunning debut documentary offers a disturbing look at a forgotten tragedy. In May 1985, 11 members of the black liberation/survivalist/anti-technology group MOVE died after a 24-hour standoff with Philadelphia police. With the approval of Mayor Wilson Goode, and the police and fire commissioners, a helicopter buzzed the row house that served as MOVE’s commune-like headquarters and dropped a bomb on the roof. The ensuing blaze killed six adults and five children in the house. It spread out of control to destroy more than 60 homes spread over three city blocks. Why did it happen?

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