Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Bleak House"

I admit it!... I have never ever finished a Charles Dickens novel. It isn't that I can't appreciate "classics", I just can't seem to wade through a Dickens of a story (wah-wah-wah. I know it was bad). Anyhow, fortunately for all of us BBC does amazing things with Dicken's novels and brings to life the zany but never quite over-the-top characters. One of the best adaptations is "Bleak House" starring Gillian Anderson (of X-Files fame) with a flawless british accent and flawless acting. The only other name I know is Anna Maxwell Martin (Bessy Higgins from "North and South") who you of course feel immediately invested in her character Esther Summerson because she has a way of pulling you in. I take that back, I did recognize Carey Mulligan who plays Ada Clare (from the 2005 "Pride & Prejudice" she played Kitty). This role gave her a lot more to do and she took advantage of it. A lot of the other faces I recognized, but couldn't place from where. But of course all are top-notch actors - British actors are so much more dependably brilliant than american (on the whole).
Charles Dance is brilliantly nefarious as the lawyer Tulkinghorn. Denis Lawson is utterly beleivable as the generous Jon Jarndyce. Burn Gorman as bumbling and ambitious Guppy is delightfully embarrassing to watch. Nathaniel Parker gave me the shudders with his portrayel of Skimpole who claims to be as "innocent as a child" when it comes to matters of money and the world, but manipulates all around him so he can live off their wealth. Oh, I could go on and on!
It's about 7 hours long in 30 minute episodes (except for the first which is a full hour). It makes it easy to split it up over time if desired, but watch it you must. This is the best way to enjoy Dickens. Here's the trailer for it:

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