HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  Personal History of David Copperfield, The Dev's Dickens
Year: 2019
Director: Armando Iannucci
Stars: Dev Patel, Aneurin Barnard, Peter Capaldi, Morfydd Clark, Ben Whishaw, Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton, Rosalind Eleazar, Daisy May Cooper, Bronagh Gallagher, Darren Boyd, Gwendoline Christie, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Benedict Wong, Paul Whitehouse, Victor McGuire
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The audience are seated, and David Copperfield (Dev Patel) takes to the stage, standing at the lectern to relate the story of his life and the people he has known. He was born to a recently widowed mother, Clara (Morfydd Clark), which placed him at a disadvantage from the beginning, as she was living off her inheritance, which was not enough to keep her and David solvent, and nineteenth century England being what it was, she had to seek another husband to support her. The man she found, however, was Mr Murdstone (Darren Boyd), whose cruelty and intolerance the little boy found himself on the wrong side of - and so a pattern formed.

Adaptations of Charles Dickens are a gift to the television writer, given he wrote in an episode form anyway, leaving his most adapted book to be the relatively short A Christmas Carol which has versions appearing like a rash every Yuletide whether you want them or not. His longer novels did not see the big screen so much, rendering director and co-writer Armando Iannucci's reimagining of Copperfield as an anomaly in the twenty-first century, with his tries at updating the text (while still presenting it as a period piece) not sitting well with many Dickens aficionados, of which there remain a substantial amount around the world, not only nested in Britain.

However, it was not as if it was the only classic book to undergo this treatment, and transforming it into a comedy was a brave move, possibly inspired by W.C. Fields in the nineteen-thirties Hollywood version who played eternal debtor and erstwhile guardian of David, Mr Micawber, for laughs as well as a touch of pathos. Peter Capaldi did the same here, though the effect was a little diluted when everyone else followed suit, and not helping was that the trademark Iannucci irreverence was in the service to some jokes that were very pleased with themselves without actually being tremendously funny, which tended to leave a void at the centre of the picture's overall effect.

It was not a dead loss, nothing like it, as for a start the production was undeniably a handsome one, with a busy look that nevertheless found space for eyecatching landscapes and interiors alike; if nothing else it was aesthetically pleasing on an art direction level, and that included the costumes and set decoration as well as many well-chosen locations and a smattering of CGI for the flights of fancy that get into David's head when he is taken with an idea. Patel was an engaging hero considering he was playing an essentially passive soul to whom things happen rather than someone who actively makes things happen, and wisely he was surrounded by larger than life performances, some more subtle than others, to divert attention from the fact David is bobbing like a cork on the ocean.

Those big performances were provided by an impressive cast of British actors, probably the best that could have been assembled for the material, drawn from talent and what they could bring to their roles as inhabiting them as vividly as possible. As well as the aforementioned Capaldi, Hugh Laurie brought gentle tragedy to the role of David's uncle, a nice man blighted with mental illness in a rather too-modern reading, but one which Laurie sold as one of the highlights. Aneurin Barnard was the best friend of the hero whose snobbery could prove the undoing of them both, Clark was in a dual role as the mother and oddly, Dora, the girl David becomes smitten with though we can tell he would be better off with Agnes (Rosalind Eleazar), but perhaps the strongest part was from Ben Whishaw as the conniving, class conscious Uriah Heep, who offered a dash of the social satire Iannucci largely neglected in favour of the glow of the imagery and the offbeat performing. Overall, you would not feel as if you had wasted your time, but you would feel there was something missing, a bite, perhaps. Music by Christopher Willis.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 267 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: