Bleak House (Special Edition) (3 Discs) (Blu-ray) (Widescreen) product details page

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Bleak House (Special Edition) (3 Discs) (Blu-ray) (Widescreen)

Gillian AndersonPatrick KennedyCarey Mulligan

Director: Susanna WhiteJustin Chadwick

rated: NR

released: May 5, 2009

format: Blu-ray

Rating: Not rated: write a review
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Enlivened by top-flight British character acting and an admirably nuanced performance from Gillian Anderson, this labyrinthine Charles Dickens adaptation seems neither rushed nor overstuffed -- a major achievement considering the epic source material. Although it functions as a deconstruction of the Victorian class and legal systems, Bleak House is, above all, a compelling story. Combining elements of mystery, drama, comedy, and romance, producer Nigel Stafford-Clark weaves dozens of characters and countless interlocking subplots into a nearly seamless tapestry. Like most Victorian fiction, the original novel was serialized, and Stafford-Clark retains that structure in 15 episodes whose time constraints and cliffhanger endings lend shape to what could have been a sprawling mess. As the imperious yet conflicted Lady Dedlock, Anderson betters her previous stellar work in the Edith Wharton adaptation House of Mirth; yet she's only one light among many. The real discovery is Anna Maxwell Martin, whose turn as Esther Summerson, the moral center of the story, never devolves into a virtuous Victorian stereotype. Eight hours long, Bleak House requires a bit of an investment, but the dividends are worth it. Brian J. Dillard, All Movie Guide

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