Saturday, January 06, 2007

Prejudice Probably

I’m pretty sure the latest film adaptation of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice didn’t really have all the magic it seemed to cast on me when I watched it a few nights ago- more likely that I was, for whatever reason, nicely primed to receive its goods, no matter how warmed over. Definitely, having Donald Sutherland as the doting, misty-eyed Bennet patriarch was perfect. And I’m more then happy to admit to being smitten by the flakes of occasional thespian-like radiance Kiera Knightly has been sprinkling around since Bend it Like Beckham, but I ‘dunno. There was the occasional glide of the camera. The opening ball-sequence especially, where Bennets meet Bingley and where Elizabeth first meets Darcy. For most of this roughly 10-minute sequence the camera is completely inconspicuous, dutifully framing the narrative without fuss. But then, the narrative tensions nicely coaxed into motion, it cuts loose with a great montage of blooming allegorical swoons and striking angles blatant enough to draw you out of the picture and into its technique before the camera catches itself and shuffles back into hiding behind the story. At least that’s how it felt seeing it the first time and I doubt I’ll feel compelled to check it out again. But its funny how these little moments, especially one so early on, can wake you up to a films possibilities. Additionally, Deborah Moggach’s screenplay offers numerous bouquets of finely tuned and turned phrases that gain the additional advantage of being spoken with English accents, at least two of which (Sutherlands and Jena Malone) are faked. So there's a lot to like about the film, for sure. What I can't untangle is whether it's my prejudice or my pride that's keeping me from entirely giving myself over to the warm gush of its charms.

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