Friday, January 15, 2016
Far From the Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg, 2015)
Barry Lyndon. Since then, the digital revolution has only added to the arsenal of lighting effects available to filmmakers.) So cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen's adds an element of texture and mystery to Thomas Vinterberg's version that was technologically unavailable to Roeg, and not only in interiors but also in night scenes, such as the first encounter of Bathsheba (Carey Mulligan) and Sgt. Troy (Tom Sturridge), when he gets his spur caught in the hem of her dress. The scene is meant to take place by the light of the lamp she is carrying, which Christensen accomplishes more successfully than Roeg was able to. But the story's the thing, and David Nicholls's screenplay is much tighter than Frederic Raphael's 1967 version -- it's also about an hour shorter. Nicholls makes most of his cuts toward the end of the film, omitting for example the episode in which Troy becomes a circus performer, one of the more entertaining sections of the Schlesinger-Raphael version. I think Nicholls's screenplay sets up the early part of the stories of Bathsheba and Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts) much better, though he has to resort to a brief voiceover by Mulligan at the beginning to make things clear. His account of the affair of Troy and the ill-fated Fanny Robbin (Juno Temple) is less dramatically detailed than Raphael's, but in neither film is their relationship dealt with clearly enough to make us understand Troy's character. On the whole, I think I prefer the new version, which is less star-driven than Schlesinger's, but I can't really say whether I would feel that way if I had seen the new one first.