A recent re-release of John Schlesinger’s 1967 version of Far From The Madding Crowd provided a timely reminder of the raw emotional power of Thomas Hardy’s late 19th-century novel and Julie Christie’s luminous portrayal of spirited heroine, Bathsheba Everdene.
Danish director Thomas Vinterberg brings a delicate touch to this handsome new incarnation, which runs 50 minutes shorter than its predecessor and is undernourished as a consequence.
Anchored by Carey Mulligan’s nuanced performance, Far From The Madding Crowd is a visually arresting, but ultimately anaemic portrait of rural desires.
Matthias Schoenaerts wrestles in vain with a West Country accent, while Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge have limited screen time to match fond memories of Peter Finch and Terence Stamp in respective roles in the 1967 film.
While Vinterberg’s vision lacks emotional heft, it packs a mighty visual punch. Rolling landscapes look invitingly wild and untamed, bathed largely in natural light, and the nascent beauty of leading lady Mulligan shines through the artfully composed muck and grime.