Sunday, July 09, 2006

Another Cinematic Bummer

On the same night that I rented Ultraviolet(shudder) I also rented the latest adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It stars Kiera Knightly, Matthew Macfadyen, Donald Sutherland, and many more, and I was really looking forward to it since I have greatly enjoyed the various other movies made from Ms. Austen's books. Unfortunately this film was not to live up to its pedigree. Miss Knightly and the others put forth magnificent performances, and there are truly wonderful moments in the movie, but the director, Joe Wright, seems to be unsure about who his audience is, and consequently lets all audiences down. What I love about these period pieces is the rigidly controlled, yet wittily biting conversations and sparring between characters who dare not step beyond the very clear boundaries of civility and propriety, which is why I am such a fan of Oscar Wilde. Unfortunately the MTv generation has little tolerance for such exchanges, and so in apparent attempt to pander to the younger crowd much of the witty banter is missing, replaced with rapid fire cuts, and short soundbytes. Finally, nearly two thirds of the way into the film they allow the main characters to have some actual screen time, but then the movie lurches to a halt, and the last twenty minutes seem longer than the previous one-hundred. Director Wright takes a script that should be light as a feather, and wields it like a leaden cudgel. It isn't unwatchable, and as I said before the actors have much to be proud of, but this movie is, ultimately, destined for the 2 for $11 bin at Wal-Mart.

The Mrs. and I will be heading South for a few days of much needed R&R, so I don't imagine I'll be posting much til we get back. Y'all be good til then. ;-)

Your doting Marius.

1 comment:

Woman in a Dark Room said...

I thought that way upon first viewing this version. I've seen them all. This one, though not truly faithful adaptation, has more of the love story element. I think that McFadden does almost a better job at Darcy then Firth. I know I'm going against all my fellow Austen-philes, but he's portrail shows more of his inner struggle and foibles. He shows the stuff that's going on in his head and heart, we don't just have to take his word for it. Watch it again and watch his performance, and trust me it will grow on you.