25 November 2005

Why you should go see Pride & Prejudice (despite its deficiencies)

My family decided to take a break today from lazing by the fire and nibbling on leftover bits of turkey and casserole to see the latest revival of the Jane Austen-revival, Pride & Prejudice, starring the ever-winsome Keira Knightley.

This movie is great. Let me get that out of the way before I launch into my relatively minor nit-pickings. Miss Knightley and cast perform admirably their roles in a movie genre which is really the chamber music of the film world. But perhaps the greatest role in the movie is performed by the sets and scenes. Those are, in my opinion, the funnest parts of these movies to give glimpses of the interior and exterior of a world entirely unknown to the majority of us Americans.

The only real problem with this new movie is that it is too short. The two-hour running time is entirely insufficient to draw out all the subtleties of character and plot. We hardly have time to develop a strong dislike of Mr. Darcy before we are asked to like him very much. And the excressable Mr. Wickham is on screem enough to only be entirely indifferent. Alas, the sublime irony of Mr. Bennet is mostly alluded to by his acrot Donald Sutherland rather than made manifest in his portrayal. Perhaps I am merely spoiled by the BBC version of P&P which at around six hours is able to reproduce every last bit of the novel in majestic (or painful) detail.

To return to its good points, however, it would be remiss of me not to comment on the cinematoraphy, which is both intimate and epic at alternating and appropriate points.

Because there won't be much else worth rushing to at the cinema this holiday season, I heartily recommend this gem. But it is by no means a classic. And I think the Holy Father would entirely approve.


father wb said...

Some movies I think are probably worth seeing, if not rushing to, in addition to P&P: Jarhead, Narnia, Capote, Paradise Now, Zathura (maybe), Good Night and Good Luck (maybe), Walk the Line, Harry Potte, Aeon Flux (maybe), King Kong, and Be Here to Love Me (if you can find it).

A movie not worth seeing: Brokebrack Mountain.

"I wish I knew how to quit you!"


allison said...

I agree with your assessment of Pride and Prejudice. It does not do the A&E version justice. However, it is a beautiful movie. I enjoyed the more accurate representation of the Benett family's situation in life.
I just happened on your site while blog-surfing. Very nice!

Garland said...

Thanks allison, glad you like the blog. My concerns about the development of the characters--or lack thereof--are endemic to the shortness of the movie. It would have to be at least twice as along as it is now to correct this problem. On the other hand, the opportunity to get an up-close glimpse at some English Palladian architecture with what looked like Adamesque interiors makes the movie, for me, a real joy. It's too bad that the ending sucked as hard as it did.