Sunday, May 3, 2015

Fox Searchlight Film Review- Far From the Madding Crowd

Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) spends time in the Dorst countryside at the start of the film. The year is 1870 and her days spent riding across great hills, valleys and among the trees.  The land owner Gabriel Oak (Mattais Schoenaerts) who has 200 sheep on his 100 acres begins to notice of Ms. Everdene eventually asking for her hand in marriage. Bathsheba is fiercely independent does not think that she needs a man or husband but if she did it would have to be someone exceptional to reign her in. The pair soon have a twist of fate. Oak's sheep are lost in a freak accident then Bathsheba inherits her uncles farm and leaves the country side.

Ms. Everdene moves to Farm Robbin then quickly make changes. Mr. Oak arrives shortly thereafter.  The new mistress faces challenges from the existing staff and being the only female at market. She soon makes an impression on her new neighbour the respected William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) who falls for his new neighbour leading to her second marriage proposal. Her third was not too far away as British Solider Sargent Francis Troy (Tom Sturrige) swordsmanship and read coated attire turn her head.

The strongest part of the film is the writing. The dialogue between the characters is crisp and direct. The four main characters are well fleshed out and the supporting characters at the Robbin Farm have their distinct qualities. The other notable element is the cinematography. The landscape views are picturesque bringing the viewer directly into the region and the time period.

Bathsheba's strong side continues to shine at the farm.  She is willing to jump in and participate in any task that her staff do on the farm from washing the sheep to bringing in the harvest. Her three suitors circle around her orbit until she makes a decision on whom to wed. The change in her marital status brings a master into the home effecting the power structure of the farm.

Carey Mulligan turns in a solid performance as the main character in the production. She is strong in a male dominated world and industry being clear and resolute with her decisions. Mattais Schoenaerts continues a string of strong performances as Mr. Oak. At the outset he is a landowner then his fate turned to a worker but he maintains an even head and a good eye for character throughout the piece. Michael Steen is notable in a smaller role and could have done with more screen time in the film.  Look for Juno Temple in a meaty supporting role as Fanny Robbin opening with a chance to marry a solider at the start of the film but due to a mix-up ending up struggling to live day to day in the shadows.

Far from the Madding Crowd is a solid adaptation of a Thomas Hardy novel. The piece is well written with the English countryside beautifully presented.  The main actor turn in sound performances. If you are a fan of Victorian Period pieces then the picture is worth a look.

*** Out of 4.

Far from the Madding Crowd | Thomas Vinterberg | U.K. / U.S.A. | 2015 | 119 Minutes.

Tags:  Thomas Hardy, Victorian Era , British Army,  Farms, Sheep, Harvest, Courting, Marriage.

No comments:

Post a Comment