Last Updated: April 14, 2012By Tags: , ,

He brought us the theory of evolution but director Jon Amiel’s take on Charles Darwin doesn’t evolve into much. “Creation” stars Paul Bettany, complete with receding hairline, as the author of “Origin of a Species,” a reclusive man struggling to write the book that so defines us all.

He grapples with the idea of “ridding the world of God” as one colleague puts it, as well as with the balance of nature and survival of the fittest. All this is given all the more relevance because at the time he was writing the book, he was also dealing with the death of his young daughter (Martha West), putting his faith in God into question.

When the movie really takes on the Darwin theories, it has something that you wish Amiel and screenwriter John Collee (adapting from a biography by Randall Keynes) had stayed with. Instead it mostly centers on a glum and moody melodrama where Darwin is continually haunted by dreams of his daughter and begins to separate himself more and more from his other children and wife (Jennifer Connelly), who also happens to be his cousin.

The drab set and costume design is very good, as is Bettany, who runs the gamut between fatherly love and tortured despair, but the movie is really just a slow slog through the author’s guilt.

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