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Jane Eyre

Keeping with the gritty realism present in most of today’s cinema, Cary Fukunaga saves the tale of Jane Eyre from a soppy romantic depiction, and throws it headlong into the darkness. The story is a simple one, and follows the life of Jane Eyre, an intelligent, plain and chronically mistreated governess who lands a job in the house of rich Mr. Rochester. These two seemingly polar opposites eventually form a budding romance which is overshadowed by a tragic mystery that haunts the halls. Fukunaga proves a capable director, setting the dark tone for the film, focusing on Jane’s inner strength and refusal to break over the many hardships she has endured throughout her life. Although this is one of many interpretations, the newest version of Jane Eyre feels fresh and brings a new liveliness to Charlotte Bronte’s well known tale. Given the amount of source material screenwriter Moira Buffini has to work with she is able to produce a fantastic script that tracks the action of this film mainly through flashbacks. Key moments in Jane’s life are highlighted to better understand her character but are not dwelled upon, leaving more time to focus on her interactions with characters such as Mr. Rochester and St. John. The pacing of the film is well measured, and audiences are provided with an engaging story and beautiful portrayals of Bronte’s timeless characters. Although Fukunaga and Buffini’s Jane (Mia Wasikowska) and Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender) prove to be far more attractive versions than their literary counterparts, both actors nail the soul of their characters with a studied precision. Fassbender infuses his Rochester with appropriate amounts of brewing tragedy and eccentric charm. Even smaller roles are handled expertly. Judy Dench, a familiar face in many period dramas, makes a companionable Mrs. Fairfax. Jamie Bell, though perhaps not my first choice for St. John Rivers, makes this unbending character likeable. Buffini and Fukunaga focus the story less on St. John’s determined self-sacrifice and more on his role as a foil to Rochester and possible harbinger of doom to Jane’s way of life. However, the real gem of the film is Wasikowska who brings Bronte’s heroine to life, creating an intelligent, bold and strong willed woman able to face the restrictions imposed on her class and gender in 19th century life. It’s safe to say that this is one of the best adaptations I have ever seen on film, and for that reason I believe everyone should see it, as it would be criminal to ignore a story and performances of this calibre.

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Filed under Period drama, Remake, Uncategorized

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Well two months later I return with another post.  Apologies for the long wait which is due to extreme stress from moving, being without internet for most of September, and then just general laziness on my behalf.  But I press onwards!  Here is my latest review on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, hopefully still available for viewing in a theatre near you!

I was initially sceptical about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.  As a fan of the original graphic novel by fellow Canadian Bryan Lee O’Malley, I was wary when I observed the cast list.  Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim?! Horrifying; Keiran Culkin as Wallace Wells?! Highly doubtful!  My hopes picked up when I discovered that Edgar Wright would be directing.  Excited and anxious I entered the theatre to have my expectations blown out of the water.  Wright dives fast and hard into the world of Scott Pilgrim in the opening sequences, offering audiences a visual feast and full submersion into O’Malley’s erratic imagination.  The story is ridiculous.  Scott Pilgrim, a geeky bassist, meets the girl of his dreams, American courier Ramona Flowers.  However, in order to date her he must defeat her 7 evil exes.

While there is not very much in the way of character development, that is not what this film and O’Malley’s original vision is about.  The film embodies a look and sound that is comparable to an electric shock with the visual style of the material borrowing heavily from video games and anime.  The film is often hilarious, with several of the most entertaining moments taken straight from the pages of the comic.  Besides the humour and the pitch perfect performance of Keiran Culkin as Wallace Wells, Scott Pilgrims long suffering gay roommate, the soundtrack is one of the strongest elements of the film.  The fictional bands which appear in the film such as The Clash at the Demonhead and Crash and the Boys, all have music provided by top selling artists Metric and Broken Social Scene respectively.  The music for Sex Bob-omb, Scott Pilgrim’s own self proclaimed ‘terrible’ band, is all penned by Beck Hansen, who is able to channel the grungy early punk sounds of acts like the MC5.  The only downside the film carries with it is its run time.  Like Edgar Wright’s other ventures, Hot Fuzz in particular, Scott Pilgrim out stays its welcome by roughly 20 minutes.  The final scene’s of the film seem to lose their wind and feel too long and stretched out.  However, this is a small concern, for the price of admission allows audiences entrance to a wildly entertaining movie-going experience. 

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Filed under Comedy, Film, Uncategorized