Saturday, November 16th, 2013

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Have no great expectations of Mike Newell’s new much abridged version of Charles Dicken’s classic story but you will  at least get a real visual treat that Oscar nominated cinematographer John Mathieson has created here with his dramatically lit sweeping landscapes.
Of all the previous 18 + times this story has been brought to the big and small screens, it’s hard to surpass David Lean’s 1946 Oscar winning version which retained all the terrifying details that enriches Dicken’s tale. At least Newell, and screenwriter David Nicholls, didn’t seek to contemporize the story or radically alter the imagery (such as last years ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Andrea Arnold) so it’s the perfect movie for students of the classics ….particularly those who like to speed-read everything. 

Newell did had the benefit of a really sterling cast, to raise the level somewhat. Helena Bonham-Carter as Miss Haversham romped through another of her wide-eyed white-faced vampy roles that seems to be her hallmark performance in these days, and for which I will profess that I have too unhealthy an obsession with. Ralph Fiennes, who will seemingly not be off our screens this Fall, made escaped convict Magwitch more creepy than menacing; great to see Robbie Coltrane (Jaggers the Lawyer) back on the big screen after too long an absence, and he and Ewan Bremmer playing his Clerk were pitch perfect.

The weakness was James Irvine as Pip who never seemed comfortable as either the apprentice blacksmith or as a proper real gent, and was sadly no leading man.

This may not be the best period costume drama of the year, but until Ralph Fiennes is back on screens (later this month) playing Mr Dickens himself, this will have to do.

★★★★★★★


Posted by queerguru  at  04:32

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