A New York Winter's Tale – review

1 / 5 stars 1 out of 5 stars.
Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe star in a glutinous fantasy romance about destiny and miracles
A New York Winter's Tale
'A misguided folly': Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay in A New York Winter's Tale. Photograph: David C Lee

This misguided folly is released here just when everyone has had their fill of winter, and just too late to be a Valentine's release, as it was in the US – where the polar vortex has made snowbound stories particularly unwelcome.

Based on Mark Helprin's novel, Winter's Tale, this first directing effort by the screenwriter of A Beautiful Mind is a glutinous fantasy romance about destiny, miracles and a devil (played by an uncredited Will Smith) who lives under a bridge and wears a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt. In 1916 Manhattan, Colin Farrell escapes from Russell Crowe's Irish gangster Pearly on the back of a flying horse (no, I have not been at the spiked punch), then falls for doomed ingenue Jessica Brown Findlay, who walks barefoot in the snow and has the hale, rosy-cheeked glow peculiar to Hollywood consumptives. A hundred years later, a reincarnated Farrell finds that his beloved's kid sister is still alive (played by one-time Hitchcock star Eva Marie Saint) and a leading journalist. In other words, according to the story's shaky time scheme, a New York newspaper is edited by a woman aged approximately 108 – how's that for shattering the glass ceiling? Findlay narrates in huge chunks of religiose voice-over. "Nothing has been without purpose – nothing," she concludes. Well, perhaps not nothing.