Monday, March 10, 2008

Pride and Prejudice

Director Joe Wright has done a marvelous job bringing Jane Austen's classic novel to the big screen. The gentle dolly shots through the doorways of the Bennett household work as a graceful introduction to their characters. You feel like that big water alien from The Abyss peeking in to see what is happening and moving on to the next room.

The plot to Austen's novels are rarely intricate are overwhelming. Here we have Elizabeth Bennett (Keira Knightley) the second oldest of 5 daughters trying to find love and a reliable means of income for her family. Her older sister Jane (Rosamund Pike who is more beautiful than everyone's sister )is the more outwardly beautiful and attracts the glances of a rich lad Billingsly (Simon Woods). Except that his friend Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen) has noticed Lizzie and isn't sure what to think of her. Of course it is love and all the Austen complications come up to keep the characters apart til the end happen.

All the performances are strong here with Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn shining as parents of the Bennett household. Each one gives enough comic energy to lighten up the story without adding too much zaniness. Knightley easily gives her best performance ever with her romantic opposite MacFadyen just along for the ride. A gorgeous score from Dario Marianelli only adds to the excellent work of Joe Wright and cinematographer Roman Osin.

The craft behind Pride and Prejudice makes this film what it is... the performances are solid with a nod to the creative casting of Donald Sutherland. If you watched it just for the story the first time, try it again and look for the little things that have been meticulously put together here. I credit Joe Wright's work here for making me want to see his next project Atonement.


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