Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pride & Prejudice

by Colin
Wow, that was unexpected. I was home at my parents' house for Memorial Day, and we ended up watching a movie that we thought everyone would enjoy at least a bit: Pride & Prejudice. I found the movie on the whole to be really enjoyable, but for me the real shining star was director Joe Wright, making his feature film debut. I would easily call it the best debut by a director that I've seen in a long time. I don't know how he did it, but the film features a dizzying number of extended long takes that last for minutes on end. And these aren't your garden variety long takes; these are sprawling scenes that involve dozens of characters doing very different things. At one point in the commentary track, Wright notes how he originally wanted to do one (elaborate) scene as a montage, but then he glibly notes how he decided how he decided instead to just do one long tracking shot that makes frequent shifts in who we are following.

And perhaps the most amazing thing is that on the commentary track, the guy is completely self-deprecating, noting all of the mistakes he made. Overall, the commentary track itself is a real treat, as he pulls no punches. And on the track, he displays an encyclopedic knowledge of film history, noting how a wide variety of films and directors inspired ceratin shots in the film. The bottom line is that this guy has the goods. I can't wait to see his next film, which the imdb currently lists as an adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement, which will also star Kiera Knightley.


Blogger Brian said...

Yeah, I liked it a lot more than I thought I would, also. I was a bit annoyed by the comic-relief sisters and mother, but other than that I was surprised by how well it was done.

5/31/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

Atonement is a terrific novel, and I will be interested in how it is adapted. I don't want to give anything away, but there are portions of the novel that may be narrated by unreliable characters.

5/31/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

I finally saw this (on a giant outdoor screen). I enjoyed it, but the production design bothered me in comparison to my memories of the 1995 BBC TV version and Sense and Sensibility, which I haven't seen in several years, so my apologies if my complaints are unfair. Why did all the homes look like they were 200 years old, when they wouldn't have looked that way in 1797? Why did the women's makeup look the same all the time, rather than their looking plain most of the time and looking very made-up at parties? Why did the costumes look like toned-down versions of what would have been authentic (the women's gowns didn't look like the typical Empire fashion seen in the other films I mentioned above)? The effect for me was like I was watching only the film-within-the-film bits of a film that takes place during the making of a film of "Pride & Prejudice," such was what I perceived as a lack of attention to detail.

6/12/2006 11:50:00 AM  

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