Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate tale of the intense and demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, allegedly a Gypsy foundling adopted by Catherine's father. After Mr ... See full summary »
Paul Eryk Atlas,
Jackie works as a CCTV operator. Each day she watches over a small part of the world, protecting the people living their lives under her gaze. One day a man appears on her monitor, a man she thought she would never see again, a man she never wanted to see again. Now she has no choice, she is compelled to confront him.
My experience was so drastically opposed to what I'd heard about this film in the newspapers that I was going to write a shocked review here; but I see that it has already all been said. Wilfully obscure narrative (I went with someone who had never read the book and had to explain to him afterwards who was who and what had happened, and why), self-indulgent overuse of wildlife shots and arty camera angles (once is good; twice is good; ALL THE TIME is tedious), important plot developments whisked over in the joints between one scene and the next, poor performances from the adult actors, jerky camera-work, insufficient lighting, and a variety of deliberately repulsive scenes of slaughter, necrophilia, blood-sucking and copulation in the mud (and I'm not talking about that bizarre bog scene between Cathy and Heathcliff, clearly intended to be very significant since it was repeated at the end...)
A lot of the time I felt I was being battered over the head with the director's insistence that This Is a Very Important Metaphor but simply didn't understand what the shot of a beetle, or a horse's flank, or a patch of stone, or yet another rainstorm, was supposed to be saying. (The one thing I didn't notice, interestingly, was that the film is in Academy ratio rather than widescreen - probably because the vast majority of the pictures I watch are not in widescreen and in fact I generally dislike it, so I certainly wasn't conscious of that as a drawback.) To be fair, my other companion, who adores the novel, thought the film was the closest she'd ever seen to capturing the spirit of the book, although she too was somewhat disappointed in the 'adult' section.
I suppose you could say that it was a disquieting film of a disquieting book, in which none of the characters were sympathetic because none of the characters in the original are sympathetic: for my part I found myself roused to a furious dislike and resentment, so was at least not indifferent to it. I didn't walk out of what was a sparsely-attended screening -- I didn't even allow myself to disturb my neighbours by looking at my watch -- but I fantasised about being able to leave and was longing for the experience to end.
I think the film has power, which is why I haven't marked it lower than I have. I also think that in many ways it is a bad piece of film-making, more akin to a pretentious video installation than the telling of a complicated and violent story.
The wind really does 'wuther' like that in Yorkshire, though...
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