Having seen the momentous BBC mini-series product when it aired 25 years ago in my impressionable
teens (yes, I just revealed my age), I must say I approached this with some excitement and concern - both of which were confirmed.
The movie unfolds in two parts. The first half: spellbinding, hopeful, innocent, joyous, luscious. It's champagne, country houses, servants, strawberries, aristocratic. Just little hints are dropped about the constant role of religion that gains force with each scene until it completely overwhelms everyone by the end. Thus the second half: forlorn, dark, gloomy, lonely, hopeless, slow.
To be sure, that's Evelyn Waugh's structure and intent. But the movie moves at such a slow and deliberate pace that I really just want it to end. Story transitions are a bit abrupt at times, and our protagonist's true intentions are never fully explained. Aside from trimming 15 minutes, it's worth seeing the good performances and spectacular scenery.
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