Title – Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)
Director – Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt)
Cast – Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple
Plot – In the Victorian era of England, new farm owner and independent woman Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan) finds her life complicated by the fact farm hand Gabriel Oak (Schoenaerts), farm owner William Boldwood (Sheen) and young soldier Francis Troy (Sturridge) have all fallen under her spell and would each like to have Bathsheba as their wife.
“I shouldn’t mind being a bride at a wedding if I could be one without getting a husband!”
Review by Eddie on 23/03/2016
There’s certainly no shortage of drama going on in Far From the Madding Crowd, so much so that ardent watchers of BBC dramas and period pieces will be lapping up and loving every well framed minute of famed The Hunt director Thomas Vinterberg’s adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s revered novel to levels that will likely see Crowd be found on your grandparents Downtown Abby clad DVD shelf for years to come.
While the love will abound from adorers of dramatic romances (and when I say dramatic I mean every single frame here seems to hold more drama than a full season of Home and Away) it’s got nothing on the amount of love that runs through Hardy’s tale and Vinterberg’s directional take as Carey Mulligan’s determined Bathsheba Everdene fends off romantic advances from men of all shapes and sizes whilst surrounded by the green pastures of England of old.
Acquitting herself well to yet another similarly themed role as the at times frustrating Bathsheba (a romantic choice Bathsheba makes is an almost “oh come on” moment) Mulligan is a likeable figure in a time that rarely saw women stick it to the men and she’s ably supported by Matthias Schoenaerts kindly shepherd Gabriel and Michael Sheen’s somewhat underused statesman William Boldwood while young British actor Tom Sturridge overplays it as the thoroughly unlikeable Francis Troy. It’s a loaded narrative and arc of romance and choices and it’s perhaps worthy of a longer take as Vinterberg’s film fly’s from scene to scene and sometimes we barely get to understand character decisions and motivations but for the thousands upon thousands of fans of Hardy’s book this will likely not be a major problem.
A curious career choice for Vinterberg who has found a name for himself in the European arthouse scene and supporter of the dogma movement, Crowd is a visually pleasing and generally well-acted melodrama that as an added bonus (for cinematic kissing fans) features what could well be 2015’s most intense big screen pash and while it may not be the quintessential treatment of Hardy’s novel it’s an enjoyable and never dull period piece that never outstays its welcome.
3 ½ bloated sheep out of 5