Saturday, November 9, 2013

Great Expectations

Movie Name: Great Expectations
Year of Release: 2012
Director: Mike Newell
Stars: Jeremy Irvine, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Holliday Grainger, Robbie Coltrane, Toby Irvine, Sally Hawkins, Jason Flemyng, David Walliams, Olly Alexander, Ewen Bremner, Ben Lloyd-Hughes
Genre: Drama, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Prolific and eclectic director Mike Newell is back, after his big budget extravaganza that was "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time". His latest feature is an adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, that has seen quite a few iconic adaptations, the latest of which was directed by Alfonso Cuaron in 1998 and featured Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Bancroft and Robert De Niro. The film follows the story of young Pip, an orphan under the care of his older sister. Pip on one of his excursions to visit his parents graves in the cemetery, comes across a convicted criminal on the run, who threatens and begs Pip for help. Pip acquiesces, though the criminal is shackled again the following day. Pip also starts visiting the eccentric Ms. Havisham, a rich recluse lady living close by, who has an adopted daughter by the name of Estella. Pip develops strong affections for her, and as the years pass by, Pip continues to learn his trade as blacksmith, until he receives the news he has received an inheritance.
"Great Expectations" is a novel that has had quite a large number of adaptations, the most iconic being the 1946 one, directed by David Lean, featuring John Mills, Alec Guinness and Finlay Currie. Mike Newell is a director who has always transitioned between different genres with a certain ease, and also without much distinction in his style and perspective (he started his career working in television for many years). This adaptation is faithful to the novel and aims to portray with a certain degree of realism the streets of London in the early 19th century. The director succeeds in bringing verisimilitude to what is on screen, and much of that comes from the stunning production design, cinematography and superb casting. Though there's no genial vision behind this adaptation, the film is nonetheless engaging and an interesting interpretation of a classic novel. The actors are wonderful, in particular Helena Bonham Carter (spot on casting) and the always phenomenal Ralph Fiennes. A film worth watching.