The Painted Veil (2006) Amazon Instant, iTunes The Basics: A doctor and his estranged wife travel to ‘20s-era China to combat a cholera epidemic and heal their marriage. If You Like: Howard’s End, The Last Emperor, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan The spirit of Merchant Ivory — the esteemed filmmaking team responsible for top-shelf literary adaptations like A Room with a View, Howard’s End and The Remains of the Day — is felt strongly throughout John Curran’s sorely under-seen version of British author W. Somerset Maughm’s 1925 novel. Filmed on location in China, the movie avoids the stiff self-consciousness that can often accompany translating Great English Literature to the big screen, getting at the beating heart beneath the author’s imposing text. It also boasts what may be Edward Norton’s most impressive performance to date — as cuckolded bacteriologist Walter Fane — mainly because it’s his least Norton-y turn ever. Movies like Fight Club and Birdman make brilliant use of his live-wire intensity and wicked sense of humor, but The Painted Veil requires him to cast those completely aside in favor of a quiet restraint and simmering fury.
To celebrate 'Fight Club's 15th anniversary, we're looking back at all the things you didn't know about David Fincher's dark, brawling 1999 comedy-drama starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt.