Far From the Maddening Crowd – Blu-ray Edition

far from the maddening crowdThere are two genres of film that the Brits do better than almost anyone else. One is the period piece while the other is romance. When you have both in one film then it generally is something to look forward to. Now, the director of this film based on the Thomas Hardy novel, is Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt, Dear Wendy) and he is a native of Denmark and his leading man, Matthias Schoenaerts, is from Belgium. Still the overall tone and pacing of the story is totally British in nature. Meaning it is slow and quiet and yet there is always something going on underneath it all.

Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan – Drive, An Education) is a woman who is remaining a bachelorette at a time in which this is not looked upon kindly. Her aunt who she lives with is more than a little worried about the fact that she does not seem too concerned about her situation. Suddenly it seems like she has more men than she knows what to do with and always seems to pick the wrong one.

First is the farmer Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts – Rust and Bone, The Danish Girl), a man who believes in not speaking until you are spoken to. After knowing Bathsheba for only a short period Oak proposes to her. Being that she has just inherited the large estate left to her by her uncle, Bathsheba has more important things on her mind that getting married. So she moves away.

Fate brings the two together again when Oak saves the estate from being burnt down in a fire one day. To reward him, Bathsheba takes Oak on as her new shepherd. After he moves onto the estate, Bathsheba manages to catch the eye of another man. This time it is wealthy landowner, William Boldwood (Michael Sheen – from television’s Masters of Sex), who proposes to her. She turns him down as well or at least tells him that she will think about it though she has no intention of ever marrying him. Which leads to Oak giving Bathsheba a lecture about leading on the poor middle aged bachelor. Finally, the handsome and impressive Sergeant Troy (Tom Sturridge – On the Road, Pirate Radio) comes into her life and sweeps Bathsheba off her feet.

After all this she has managed to pick the wrong man and Bathsheba is going to learn that lesson the hard way. It does not seem like this headstrong English lass is going to end up living happily ever after.

Bathesheba is a character that is a little difficult to like. She is continuously making the wrong choices and is a little self-absorbed. And yet you still find yourself rooting for her. She is a rather interesting character especially for her time in that she takes over the running of a large estate by herself and doesn’t necessarily rely on a man to steer her life. Not a quiet or docile young woman most of the time she does what she wants to. A woman ahead of her time in many respects. Also having Carey Mulligan portray her helps the likeability factor. Not only a good actress she is totally loveable; Mulligan just has that aura. On the other hand, the character of Gabriel is totally likeable. A man of few words, who is steadfast in his love for a woman no matter what she does. Gabriel stands by his woman. The type of character that all woman watching fall in love with.

Not only is Mulligan’s performance a reason to watch this film, but the cinematography or scenery plus the costumes that are superior. The rolling hills, breathtaking coastlines and typical British scenery are sumptuous. Pretty much a character onto its own.

Though most see this Hardy novel as feminist, there are those who argue that it is not. Director Vinterberg is on the side of the former making Bathsheba an even stronger character than she is in the Hardy novel. This is a slight change because for the most part Vinterberg remains faithful to the Hardy novel.

Special Features:
-Digital Copy
-Deleted Scenes (1080p; 17:54)
-Bathsheba Everdene (1080p; 3:17)
-The Suitors (1080p; 3:56)
-Adapting ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ (1080p; 4:32)
-The Look of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ (1080p; 5:08)
-Gabriel Oak (1080p; 2:22)
-William Boldwood (1080p; 2:34)
-Sergeant Troy (1080p; 2:26)
-The Locations of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ (1080p; 5:03)
-Thomas Vinterberg (1080p; 4:07)
-Gallery (1080p; 2:30) allows for either an Auto Advance or Manual Advance option. The timing is for the Auto Advance option.
-Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 1:38)

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