Tuesday, 12 May 2015

CAPSULE REVIEW: Far From The Madding Crowd

When watching Thomas Vinterberg's Far From The Madding Crowd, adapted by David "Starter For 10" Nicholls from Thomas Hardy's novel, I recalled Sunday Times critic Camilla Long's term "The Downtonisation Of Period Drama" and realised the film fitted it to a tee.

For this Far From The Madding Crowd feels as stately as Downton Abbey. It's also well mannered, well shot, well acted, well plotted and sometimes funny. Which makes it worth a look. But it doesn't quite have the emotional connectivity that separates good films from very good, or great ones.

Carey Mulligan, for example, lovely though she is, is merely an actor on screen portraying Bathsheba Everdene. She does not embody her. Ditto Matthias Schoenarts as Gabriel Oak, and the generally excellent Michael Sheen as William Boldwood. The true humanity of the film rests in Juno Temple's all too brief appearances and Tom Sturridge's turn as Sergeant Troy. Sturridge, the original William Carlisle in Simon Stephens' Punk Rock, transcends Troy's playful cockiness and becomes an unexpected force of nature.