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DVD Corner - Bangor Daily News
“Pride & Prejudice” Blu-ray: This lush costume dramedy based on Jane Austen’s book can be wicked and wickedly funny, particularly given its flighty performance by Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet and the ferocious appearance by Dame Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourg. Keira Knightley offers an Elizabeth who is pretty, which rails against form, but audiences should know that her beauty doesn’t tip the balance. She remains unable to restrain herself from saying exactly what’s on her mind, which creates some wonderful tension as her budding, tug-of-war relationship builds with Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFayden). Director Joe Wright gets it right in that he also focuses on the periphery, where the three other Bennet sisters are brooding for a mate; Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods) is as shy as ever around poor Jane (Rosamund Pike); and the bond shared by Elizabeth and her father, Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland), remains magical regardless of the transition between mediums. As for the ending, well, let’s hope you’re wearing something light when you see it, because the last scene is undeniably, uncontainably hot. Rated PG. Grade: A
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The Movie Itself was directed by Joe Wright (known for directing “Atonement“) and is based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen. “Pride & Prejudice” tells the story of an 18th century family by the name of the Bennet’s. Consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and their five daughters Jane (Rosamund Pike), Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), Mary (Talulah Riley), Catherine (Carey Mulligan) and Lydia (Jena Malone), the family lives on a gentry by the name of Longbourn. With Longbourn set to be inherited by Mr. Bennet’s cousin, Mr. Collins, Mrs. Bennet is wants all five of her daughters married before Mr. Bennet passes away. All five daughters do want to marry immediately with the exception of Elizabeth, who feels one should only marry if they feel true love.
Enter Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen), friend of Mr. Bingley and a man who “owns half of Derbyshire”. Elizabeth takes an immediate dislike to Darcy after he refuses her attempts at a conversation. Later on, at a ball in Netherfield, Elizabeth accepts a dance with Darcy and lays out his disgust of him so he understands her side. It’s here that both seem that they can’t refuse one another, to the point where the other guests become disgusted leaving the two of them on the dance floor. While I could keep explaining the rest of the story, I’ll move forward and say that the rest of the film deals with Elizabeth, her sisters and their interactions with their parents, Darcy, Collins and others all while commenting on both 18th century topics like relationships, dance and speech. It’s safe to say that both the novel and the film are both fine works if not only because of their ability to absorb us into the time period via word (novel) and performance (film).
I really feel like this is becoming the norm saying for me lately, but it seems like I can’t comment on a Keira Knightley period film without mentioning that she was built for these types of roles. She brings not only a sense of style, charm and intelligence to each performance, but it clearly shows in each sequence that she puts her all into the role. Capturing each scene isn’t the easiest, but Knightley makes it seem like this is not even challenging. She is complimented by Macfadyen here in a manner that was similar to that of how McAvoy did in “Atonement“. Even though the chemistry between the two here isn’t as moving nor convincing as felt in “Atonement“, which is due to having previously seen the A&E version of the novel, I’ll still mention that the pure, raw emotion is there. Moments exist were we’re all emotions are on display. Truly moving material.
In closing, “Pride & Prejudice” has had the lasting impact it has on literature simply because of Austen’s ability to convey her thoughts on both the time period in a manner that is both intelligent and serious. This 2005 remake is equally as important if only because of the fine performances found here. I’m sure the women around the world have cheered and cried over the film, but as a guy I have no shame in admitting that “Pride & Prejudice” is well worth a watch fellas. You may be surprised as the strength and power the film may have on you.
Overall Verdict – Perfect Gift for Valentine’s Day
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From Blog Critics Video
With that 1995 version of the story – and Colin Firth's incredibly memorable turn as Mr. Darcy – fixed in the minds of so many, it may seem like folly to attempt another two-hour filmic version. So much occurs in the novel, and so much of the plot is present in the miniseries, that a two-hour version must leave out moments which are sure to be favorites of some in the audience. And yet, in 2005, during the 10-year anniversary of the miniseries, director Joe Wright (The Soloist) attempted to put forth a new adaptation of the novel, with Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy) in the role of Elizabeth and Matthew Macfadyen (MI-5) filling Mr. Firth's shoes.
In the end, not only did Knightley's role in the film earn her a Golden Globe as well as an Academy Award nomination, but the film itself was nominated for numerous awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The film is a crashing success, with Knightley giving an outstanding performance and excellent work by many of the supporting players, including Rosamund Pike as Elizabeth's sister, Jane; Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet; Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins; and Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourg. In fact, the greatest disappointment in the film is Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet. Sutherland's interpretation of Mr. Bennet makes the character incredibly serious and introspective, a man lost in his own world and entirely removed from his family. There is little given in the film to support this interpretation and consequently Sutherland's Bennet, who gives the feel of something like a retired soldier living with PTSD, appears wholly out of place in an otherwise enjoyable film.
Wright's film, with a screenplay by Deborah Moggach, manages to brilliantly condense the novel into the just over two hour running time. Though some moments from the novel are lost, the entirety of the story is conveyed, and infused with the same sort of humor that Austen included in her book.
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, though very much rooted in the culture of the 18th century, is a love story that transcends the time period in question. In this film, Macfadyen and Knightley convey the love Darcy and Elizabeth feel for one another to the audience perfectly, if not making the roles their own, then certainly not finding themselves stuck trying to overcome past representations of the characters. As a whole, this film does not find itself shackled to the past, and even if some of the choices made – like Sutherland's representation of Mr. Bennet – fail to impress, the majority of the film does, and is well worth seeing, even for those who will forever be in love with the image of Colin Firth emerging from his swim in the lake.
Read full review here!
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