Far From the Madding Crowd, Blu-ray (2015)

Far From the Madding Crowd, Blu-ray (2015)

Cast: Cary Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge
Video: 2.40:1 for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS 5.1, French DD 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spaish
Dubbed: French, Spanish
Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures [8/4/15]
Extras: Deleted scenes, Extended Ending, Adapting Far From the Madding Crowd, On Bathsheba Everdene, The Suitors, more…
Length: 119 min.
Rating: ****1/2

This is an elegant filmic version of Thomas Hardy’s novel which takes place in 1870s England, with screenwriter David Nicholls and director Thomas Vinterberg having produced a fine film with many lovely scenes in it – courtesy of excellent cinematography Charlotte Bruus Christensenan. In many ways the latter takes it over the 1967 version with Julie Christie as the lead character, although was as great in its own way. Shooting it in England was perfect because there are villages for backgrounds which look much like they did in the 19th century.

Bathsheba is an intelligent and independent woman who must choose between three quite different suitors. First (and [spoiler:] last is the honest and simple farmer/shepherd Gabriel, a wealthy older neighbor, William, and a dashing but dangerous soldier named Frank.  Hardy’s novel is rather short, so this is one of the few screen treatments where elements are actually added rather than left out.  The subject of vanity was strong with Hardy, but in the film version female strength got more emphasis.

I was surprised to find more going on in the story than I had expected, including some more violent scenes. The adaption does a fine job of playing up the romanti situations and making them interesting.  The score by Craig Armstrong, a Scot, is very appropriate and greatly supports the film. We recently reviewed it here.

—John Sunier

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