Friday, 8 May 2015
Carey Mulligan or Julie Christie? No contest. I'm afraid this new film adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd is a mere blip, not a classic.
There's something not quite right about it, even though it's beautifully filmed, and the costumes are terrific. (Especially Bathsheba's going-to-market outfits - but would she really have worn a leather jacket?)
It's too modern. Carey Mulligan is too gamine and minxish to ignite smouldering passion and, without the smouldering passion, where's the tragedy of Farmer Boldwood's brooding love for her? (Also, you should see the grandeur of his house ... it's ages since I read the book, but surely he was a prosperous farmer, not an aristocrat? As for Bathsheba's farmhouse, well, I never imagined it as fancy as this, did you? The director is Danish; maybe the finer nuances of English rural class went over his head.)
Then there's Sergeant Troy ... he looks more like a fresh-faced sixth-form army cadet than a Lothario.
But apart from all that, the story is told at such a galloping pace (it's a good half-hour shorter than the 1967 version) that there's no sense of Bathsheba's character mellowing and changing.
Passionless and pointless. But it looks lovely, I'll give it that much.