x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

A faithful and tasteful adaptation of Dickens

Faithfully and tastefully performed, director Mike Newell's take on proceedings is both reverential and restrained.

Holliday Grainger and Jeremy Irvine in Great Expectations. Courtesy BBC Films
Holliday Grainger and Jeremy Irvine in Great Expectations. Courtesy BBC Films

Director: Mike Newell

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter, Holliday Grainger, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane

***

Commissioned to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, this latest adaptation - the seventh big-screen take on the classic tale - casts the best of British actors behind Jeremy Irvine (of War Horse fame), here playing the novel's young hero, Pip. As the lad's triumph-over-adversity journey unfolds, we again encounter Magwitch (Ralph Fiennes), the criminal who changes Pip's life; his reclusive, would-be benefactor, Miss Havisham (Helena Bonham Carter); the ever-alluring Estella (Holliday Grainger) and others. Faithfully and tastefully performed, without ever threatening the legacy of David Lean's definitive 1946 version, Newell's take on proceedings is both reverential and restrained. The BBC commissioned the film, having tackled the tale on the small screen to great acclaim in the past. It's a timely addition to the canon, which largely succeeds in its mandate.