Nicholas Nickleby [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a very American production - for all it's almost entirely British cast (of whom more anon), and it's great British locations, not just Luton Hoo and Somerset House, but the dear little cottage used in Bleasdale's Twist - it seems that Nicholas and Oliver's Mum grew up in the same house! - this Nickleby looks great, and so say all of us.
Jim Broadbent is just about the best in the cast as Squeers, with Juliet Stephenson lending excellent support as his horrid wife, but Tom Courtney is a very close second as a Newman Noggs so lovely that you want to take him home (but that's Mr Courtney all over, I'm afraid), while Christopher Plummer is properly chilly as Ralph, and Edward Fox suitably toxic as Sir Mulberry Hawk.
Smike? Not so good. I'm sure that Jamie Bell is a very good actor, but he's not being given his head in this - his Smike really isn't the broken misfit that the story requires - he's just a bit lame and lacking confidence (although his pause in Romeo and Juliet is wide enough to drive a coach and horses through); I'd prefer a Yorkshire accent too. And Brooker - why is he so mealy-mouthed? - this is Phil Davies they've paid good money for - why's he having to use the quiet pedal so much? Even Nathan Lane (fresh from playing Max Bialystock in the Producers - see ref to Christopher Benjamin in the RSC version) is a touch subdued as Mr Crummles, leaving the ham to Dame Edna Everage as his wife, but at least their English accents are screwed firmly in place.Read more ›
Despite this, there were a few stars, notably the Squeers family (with the exception of the son). Evil, yet hysterical. Also Jamie Bell as Smike was fabulous, as was Nathan Lane as Mr Crumbles. I just loved Jim Broadbent as Mr Squeers, great to see Jim stepping out of the 'nice guy' role, yet still retained the affections of the audience.
See this film if only for Jim and Jamie, just be prepared to overlook the duds.
The DVD extras are almost worth the cost on their own. The 'cast on the cast' section is well worth a look.
It's even good enough to overcome the void at its center that is Charlie Hunnam, clearly cast for his looks since acting isn't a strong point. Indeed, it's bizarre that in a film with so many Americans, Canadians and Australians in its cast, the most unconvincing accent comes from a Brit, but Geordie Hunnam's curiously Scouse accent sticks out like a sore thumb, not only at odds with the rest of his family but also making him sound like a bored Beatle throughout - a kind of benign George Harrison without the `tache or the personality. As another poster has pointed out, it's a long way from Master Nickleby's Devonshire whatever it's meant to be.
Thankfully his blandness is more than compensated for by some excellent work by Christopher Plummer's villainous uncle, avoiding the usual caricature the role inspires, and Jim Broadbent, Juliet Stevenson and Heather Goldenhersch (boasting such a perfect English accent I was surprised to find she was American) as the hideous Squeers family, embracing it and pulling it off magnificently, while Nathan Lane and Dame Edna Everidge are truly inspired casting as the open-hearted but financially challenged theatricals Mr and Mrs Crummles. There's fine work from Timothy Spall, Tom Courtenay, Phil Davis and, most surprising of all, even Edward Fox as well.Read more ›
Director McGrath has made a number of tough, but altogether valid choices concerning what to skip and what to keep in his film of Dickens' marathon novel in order to keep the running time just barely within two hours. I can just see Dickens nodding benignly from up above. Charlie Hunnam is angelic, but also unsentimental as the gentle Nicholas, separated from his mother and sister, as after the death of his father they surrender themselves to the mercy of his cynical brother. The heart of the plot is Nicholas' friendship with the cripple Smike (Jamie Bell is brilliant, simply brilliant), a boy that he saves from the archetypal sadistic Dickensian orphanage.
McGrath's film is positively brimming with eloquent supporting actors, and in the late autumn of his career Christopher Plummer proves himself to be quite the actor in what may amount to his best part ever as the cruel uncle.
I can even recommend the extras on the extra DVD, they are to the point and for once not a complete waste of time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Was after this film for a while and could not believe the price it was advertised at but was very happy with this purchase and the service I received. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Lee Bridgman
An interesting and enjoyable but largely humourless adaptation of Dicken's masterpiece with some inspired casting and locations. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tweedledum