Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Just weeks after the English aristocratic period piece The Duchess comes another, albeit from a different period; Brideshead Revisited.
In Brideshead Revisited, Matthew Goode is the non aristocratic Oxford history student befriended by the Catholic Flyte family. The religion is important because it is crucial to plot developments.
Ben Whishaw and Hayley Atwell are the Flyte siblings who take a fancy to Goode whilst Emma Thompson is the family matriarch who casts a shadow over them all.
Regardless of your views of the subject matter of the film, based on Evelyn Waugh's famous novel, there would be few not impressed by the sumptuous surroundings in which this film was made. From Castle Howard in Yorkshire to Venice and Marrakesh the viewer is exposed to an extraordinary world of class, wealth and power.
Hayley Atwell, who played the mistress in The Duchess, creates a far different image in this film. Emma Thompson's first up interrogation of Goode over dinner, dressed up as polite conversation, is masterful.
As an aside, viewed through gay eyes, Goode and Whishaw in their scenes together both come across as 'bottoms' so no wonder their relationship was doomed. (That's not what the story is about anyway.)
I believe the film received lukewarm reviews overseas but I enjoyed it far more than the BBC television series of the early 1980s.