Monday, 22 October 2012

::: Parade's End ~ BBC/HBO ~ review :::



My my. I had high hopes for this. 

I decided to leave off trying to cram the book in before it aired, as I did with Birdsong, and thought I would just go along for the ride in this HBO/BBC collaborative  production.



Initially, I really liked it. Episode One had me immediately wanting to watch the next instalment. I loved being introduced to the characters; the stiff, principled Christopher Tietjens; the wondrously selfish, unscrupulous  Sylvia; the forward thinking Valentine.

I instantly like them all.

The cast was well considered. Anything that Benedict Cumberbatch and Anne-Marie Duff star in gets my attention and usually my vote.

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I adored the costume, the staging, the interactions between the characters. But I felt as though something was missing some how.

So each week, I tuned in to hopefully learn a little more.

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Not knowing anything by the original author Ford Maddox Ford, I was interested to read that whilst it was being adapted for screen, the writer Tom Stoppard, advised that he had added bits to make it more understandable to the viewer.

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Parade's End was very jumpy -  which I am normally fine with -  but I felt it jumped for the sake of it. As though trying to create some kind of illusion. It just left me pausing, frowning, rewinding, watching, pausing once more and discussing with The Beard. After the 3rd episode of this, we decided to just watch and shush.

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Despite all this -  I did get it. I became more confused as to why it had to be 5 hours/weeks long. I would have rather watched, perhaps, 90 minute episodes over a couple of weeks.

That said, I was left wanting more from this. I felt that, although this production was given considerable length, it was still lacking. More Western Front perhaps? More of Valentine and how she felt about Christopher?

The performances from all involved are, however, flawless. I particularly loved Anne Marie Duff as Edith with her arty circle, her dreamyness and her refusal to have sex on a bed -  not to mention fab costume.

I was left frustrated by this production, as though it was incomplete in some way. But -  as with most things, it has made me want to read the tetralogy of original works for myself.

Watch this space.

A slightly hollow-feeling

5/10


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