Mar 17, 2008

[Movies] Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Pride and PrejudiceThe works of Jane Austin have become classics for readers around the world and they've made their way into film in various forms. Her book Pride and Prejudice (2005) alone has been turned into several different films, the latest being in 2005. This version of Pride & Prejudice was a particularly good one and despite the many others I've managed to see, I have to admit that I like this one the best so far.

I think I have good reason. I usually do, right? I am a Geek after all.

Pride and Prejudice is that classic Jane Austin tale of the Bennet sisters set in those classic Georgian times when marrying off your daughters was a very important thing indeed. Of course each sister is fairly different from the other and seeing how each progresses in their various matches of varying degrees of "quality" - and not to mention the aloof Mr. Darcy - is entertaining in itself.

Of course there's little to be said about the story itself since the source material is pretty solid. Jane Austin books are known for their wit and humor while still delivering a pretty strong message when needed. Credit goes to the filmmakers for retaining the overall tone of the book on film and finding actors (or creating some I suppose) who managed to bring the story to life as it should. It didn't feel like some stuffy period film but retained the same light vibrancy that the book had.

I just loved the cinematography - so many sequences were like set pieces, paintings in real-time that just get more and more vivid as the camera pans or shifts. I also liked how many parts of the film felt more like theater representations involving complex layering of characters, camera angles, doors and smatterings of dialog left and right. Case in point is the big party where you find yourself wandering through the party, getting to see what all the Bennets are up to and yet not necessarily sticking to any one solely. Oh, and don't get me started on the dances, but then I can be such a campy fag, I know.

Kiera Knightly was really good as Elizabeth, that much I'll admit. Knightly tends to be a little hit-or-miss for me since she has a fair share of great films that aren't that well known and so-so films that you really wish you never made the mistake of sitting through. This was a new genre for her in terms of it being a good movie that got a lot of attention, especially given it got several Oscar nominations, which were certainly warranted.

Both Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blenthyn were just amazingly well-cast as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, which I think goes without saying. They were both wonderfully witty and funny without being too over-the-top, which becomes the risk with characters written in that manner.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy. Sure, playing a rather cold and aloof character can be seemingly easy but then doing that and still showing his feelings in a meaningful manner is the really tricky part. He certainly had his moments in the film, I'll give him that. I just didn't feel he was overly consistent, but fairly good overall.

Oh, and in case you're one of those folks who found Simon Woods (Mr. Bingley) strangely familiar, its because he also played Octavian for the series Rome.

Also, note that the US version has an additional scene at the end which is not available in the international release. I'm not sure why they chose to do that, but they did. I only saw the international version on DVD with a friend and I liked how it ended and had he not mentioned the alternate ending (he hails from New York), then I wouldn't have been thinking about it.

Overall this is a great movie for a Saturday night whether with close friends or a loved one with loads of popcorn and perhaps a touch of rain / cold for effect.

1 comment:

  1. P&P is one of my favorite films. I've practically memorized the part where Lizzie cleverly retorts how dancing encourages affection "even if one's partner is barely tolerable". The dialogs are witty and the characters are memorable (Tom Hollander/the cousin was hilarious and quirky)and I think that the UK ending is better than the US version. Btw, you might also like Atonement as both films were directed by Joe Wright. Nice review! :)