Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Great Expectations. Again.

While it's primetime counterpart picks up every technical Emmy it contended for, the trailer for Mike Newell's latest adaptation of Charles Dickens' enduring classic, Great Expectations, lands, and gives reason to believe it may be worth another outing.

The technical side of things look rightly gorgeous, War Horse's Jeremy Irvine shows actual personality and Helena Bonham Carter owns Miss Havisham with eerie, gothic flair.

Filmed 19 times in total, 8 times for the big screen, Expectations is a perennially popular, but only occasionally successful, literary source. Of the movie versions, only David Lean's 1946 version really hits the mark with solid performances and gorgeous styling, but I must profess a particular fondness for Alfonso Cuaron's much maligned modern re-imagining of the tale with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke. 

Sure, Cuaron's version abandons most of the plot in favour of the central romance (really far less of a romance in the original book), but it's a sensual, lightly artsy romance nonetheless, with an edgy mix of sumptuous score and pop classics (including the single that introduced me to Ms Tori Amos), a welcome obsession with the colour green and sharp performances from the young ones (Paltrow in particular) and the veterans (Bancroft, in particular - awesome, if hammy, as re-named kook Ms Dinsmoor).

It may have been the Francesco Clemente paintings - a defining influence on me as a teenager - or the fact that I was quite in love with Gwyneth Paltrow - she had an exceptional year - or it could have been the admittedly the kissing in the rain scene that undoubtedly inspired much terrible poetry on my part, but I'm always happy to let Cuaron's stylised experiment intoxicate me (my admiration is justified, incidentally, by the brilliance he later showed with Children of Men).