45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Captivating and well made: a second stay with the Darcys,
This review is from: Death Comes to Pemberley [DVD] (DVD)
A decided improvement on the P.D. James novel, which, I felt, was slightly hamstrung by its consciously being a grateful follower-on to a brilliant original. I didn't find in the book the spark and intensity that, mercifully, the scriptwriter found for this TV recreation. Perhaps this was because the TV show benefitted from a visual grammar well known to its audience, and therefore easier for the scriptwriter to latch onto than it was for James to channel Austen's unique writing style.
I thought the casting and acting were all terrific: I'd enjoyed Matthew Goode in "Leap Year", and his Wickham was the man I'd always wanted to see in previous Pride & Prejudice adaptations, but never did: a truly handsome, likeable rascal. (Otherwise, how could the sensible, lively Lizzie have possibly been so blinded by him?) Nicely done. Matthew Rhys makes a really effective Darcy in a very short space of time, despite his character in the P.D. James book seeming to me really quite shadowy. They seem to have beefed up his speaking part for the TV show and brought him into closer perspective, the scriptwriter correctly spotting the opportunity to show Darcy not as Wickham's mortal enemy, but what in fact he was and had ever been - his reluctant friend. I believed in him utterly as the breathing lord and master of a vast estate and tremendous responsibilities, traces of the old awful, implacable self there, but kinder, with Lizzie there to tie him to his humanity - very impressive.
Trevor Eve almost stole the show as Sir Selwyn Hardcastle - he brought the man to life wonderfully from what, again, had seemed in the book very thin material. Likewise Eleanor Tomlinson and Jenna Coleman, who both created likeable and believable characters as Georgiana Darcy and Lydia Wickham respectively. But my best praise goes to Anna Maxwell Martin for her mature, calm, thoughtful Lizzie Darcy, perhaps no longer striding across fields and delighting us with her liveliness, but certainly bringing her own thoughts, and her own principles, to her new, grander life, in a way I hope Austen wouldn't have been ashamed of. Her Lizzie may not sound as though she was cut from the same glass as the really posh, but she exudes her own authority.
The production values were excellent, although I still don't quite "buy" the use of Chatsworth as Pemberley. This house seems to me slightly too showy for the part of the home of a gentleman, albeit a grand one, who is not after all a peer. But still they made exquisite use of its beautiful summer woodlands and gardens to create a sense of place, and of unease and anticipation. I thoroughly enjoyed this series...now I wonder if someone can be persuaded to cast this excellent incarnation of the Pemberley family in another spinoff drama...? The audience is out there, ready and waiting.
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Initial post: 27 Oct 2014 05:32:12 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Oct 2014 06:05:14 GMT
Glow Worm says:
WOW! Wickham a "likeable rascal" and "was and had ever been (Dacey's) reluctant friend"? How about #1 enemy, repulsive liar, seducer, blackmailer and all-round rat? Lydia "likeable"? A vulgar slobbering back stabbing mindless hysteric is more like it.
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