Were my expectations too great? It occurs to me that it may be too soon for this film; for those of you who watched the BBC’s adaptation last Christmas, it is! You will find yourself making comparisons throughout the film. Helena Bonham Carter to Gillian Anderson, Ralph Fiennes to Ray Winstone, Robbie Coltrane to David Suchet, all brilliant actors we should not be forced to compare, especially when the latter did such a good job last year.
For those of you who have never seen a production of Great Expectations, this is a watchable film. The settings are excellent, misty marsh lands, dirty lower class London juxtaposed with elegant upper class London. The film is well shot and captivating once you get past some of the more “panto” characters. Mrs Joe Gargery is so over the top it is unnecessary, David Walliams' portrayal of Uncle Pumblechook is something straight from Little Britain and Miss Havisham’s poor relations just need a bit of red blusher to be the ugly sisters.
There are some highlights to the film, Jeremy Irvine as Pip, Holliday Grainger as Estella, Ewen Bremner as Wemmick are all good (if you can stop yourself making comparisons). The story has a few small changes but really there is nothing new. It made me wish I had never seen the BBC version to give this film a fair chance, but then you have to ask, in that case why did they bother making it? Once you have seen Ray Winstone as Magwitch there is no need to see anyone else! Sorry to director Mike Newell, it’s just too soon.