Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Pride and Prejudice

Judging from my Domino review, one can probably guess that I'm not a big Keira Knightley fan.

It's nothing personal, I think at times she can be very affable and attractive in a non sexual way. I also don't think she's a horrible actress. I feel she's a lot like many of today's young Hollywood actors. I feel that she just doesn't have enough life experience yet to really share a truly memorable moving performance.

Which makes sense that her most impressive performance to date happens to be in a period costume drama, where emotions and reactions are measured and muted.

Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen's classic tale of 5 sisters who, with the aid of their eccentric parents, are concerned with finding their soul mates in the classic writer's charming style.

The movie is typical of her work. To be completely honest, as far as story, if one has seen Emma, or Sense and Sensibility, or Mansfield Park , the formula is pretty much the same. What this movie has going for it though is charming memorable supporting performances by the entire cast especially a subtle Donald Sutherland and Rosamund Pike, a vibrant and flighty Jena Malone and an eccentric Brenda Blethyn.

But ultimate credit has to go to Joe Wright's direction, and Deborah Moggach's fine adaptation. Wright directs the piece with a solid hand. Although we know the inevitable ending of Happily ever after, Wright does an excellent job of creating suspense, romance, and comedy without the film slipping into hardcore chick flick. Which one would probably expect from a movie like this, instead we get an enjoyable ride.

As far as Knightley, she does a solid job with an excellent role. Although I wouldn't say she was using the entire dynamics of the emotional scale. As my friend, Lons likes to point out, it seems like she has two expressions throughout the movie. Her friendship mode when she's interacting with female characters and her family, and her period romantic mode, when she's dealing with her love interest in the film.

Matthew Mcfadyen does an excellent job playing the honorable yet shy Mr. Darcy. I have to confess though, while watching his performance I often thought of Colin Firth playing the part to perfection in a previous adaptation.

The look of the film is also impressive. I'm still smarting from choosing this movie for best costume design in our Oscar pool at work. It lost to Memoirs of a Geisha, which I haven't seen yet. The production design and Art direction is also excellent.

Overall, I did find the movie enjoyable, and would definitely recommend the film. I think people who aren't fans of this type of material would be surprised by how much they enjoyed the film.

I think it's an upgrade over other adaptation's of Jane Austen's work. It's the kind of movie a guy can watch with their girlfriend and not feel like a total sell out to their manhood.

It's on DVD now.

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