March 31, 2006

Pride and Prejudice

Welcome to the second official installment of Mosmiller Radiation Fun-House and Movie Review™. On the not-so-big screen tonight — Pride and Prejudice, a retelling of the classic Jane Austen novel of the same name.

I must admit that I felt a certain amount of self-imposed pressure going into this film on account of my written promise earlier today to review all of the movies that will be arriving via Netflix. Additionally, my experience with the 6-hour miniseries version a few years ago was not particularly thrilling. To be fair, my health was likely the culprit, as I was watching while at college only because I was too tired to do any of my school work.

With that in mind, I set down to watch, concerned a good deal of the way through the movie that I might have to bring down the axe, if not as heavily as with Star Wars, then at least forcefully enough to still decapitate. Though the acting was spot-on, I still found the plot to be, well... dry, and somewhat bogged down in language despite the necessity of that language. Much to my relief, this concern turned out to be unfounded, and the farther along the film progressed, the more I connected with it on a variety of levels.

For one, the music in the film is exceptional. Perhaps most of this is due to my bias toward the music of the period, in particular, piano music rendered in the late Classical to early Romantic style. Preliminary investigation suggests that in fact none of the score is legitimately music of hte period, and that it is written entirely by Dario Marianelli expressly for this film. Bravo, Dario. Take note — I want this soundtrack even though I own exactly zero soundtracks from conventional films outside the musical genre. It's that good.

As I suggested earlier, the acting is superb throughout, with the best performance going to Donald Sutherland in the role of Mr. Bennet. Judi Dench powerfully portrays Lady Catherine de Bourg, and in truth, all of the actors in the film acquit themselves well. As a result, the Bennet family feels very much out of touch with high society while ever striving to climb the social ladder.

Costuming and setting in the film match the era nicely, and despite my lack of knowledge on the subject of early 19th century fashion, I was able to notice that the Bennet family did not dress as sharply as their compatriots without that distinction seeming overly obvious. This is more a credit to the costumers than the lavish or avant-garde clothing found in many other films. Everything felt right. The same goes for lighting and scenery as a whole.

On account of the slow setup described at the beginning of this review, Pride and Prejudice finishes strongly and profoundly, addressing romance on a very different level than other films. This movie affirms that the expression and portrayal of love need not automatically involve physicality. In fact, the lack of physical intimacy enhances the impact of the film. I find that immensely refreshing.

Go rent this movie. I should add that I imagine that most men would prefer to be drowned in burning gasoline than see a film like this, but if you do not fall into that category, check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Posted by Andy at March 31, 2006 12:31 AM to the TV and Movies category

Whoo hoo, told ya it was good!

Posted by: Mei at March 31, 2006 10:57 AM
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