Far from the Madding Crowd

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge and Juno Temple
In UK Cinemas May 1st, 2015

by Joanna Orland

There is one reason, and one reason only to see the new film adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd – Matthias Schoenaerts as sheep farmer Gabriel Oak.  Amongst the ‘drip on a stick’ quality of dialogue and soap opera style narrative is an excellent performance by the Belgian actor, which left an entire audience commenting on nothing but his handsome looks post-screening.  The fact that he radiates off the screen as he does, makes the ridiculous plot of Far from the Madding Crowd all the more ridiculous – why would a woman such as Bathsheba Everdene ever be torn between three suitors when one of them looks like this:


The audience properly LOLed when she chose this:


The script may as well have come from a Tom Hardy novel rather than a Thomas Hardy classic.  None of the finer details of the original story are explored in director Thomas Vinterberg’s latest adaptation.  Sergeant Troy’s extravagant swordplay is depicted as cringe-worthy childish showmanship rather than the metaphoric phallic display Hardy originally intended it to be.  Mr. Boldwood’s infatuation with Bathsheba is portrayed as merely pathetic rather than the psychotic obsession it was written to be.  The barely featured Fanny Robbin getting the address of the church wrong on her wedding day and missing the chance to wed Troy seems completely unbelievable.  How could they never meet again to discuss the mishap, especially as they are supposedly so in love?  None of Troy’s feelings of shame and resentment towards Fanny are explored – clearly all of their problems could have been solved by Google Maps!

If you can’t tell, I hated this film.  I physically face-palmed at least three times during the screening, most of these moments involved sheep.  I’m sorry if my review is childish, shallow and about nothing, but it certainly represents the tone of Vinterberg’s Far from the Madding Crowd.


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