Saturday, March 21, 2009
The Remains of the Day
I finished reading The Remains of the Day for the first time about a week ago after picking up a copy at a friend's book swap party and really enjoyed it. Unreliable first person narration, crisis of masculinity AND nationality AND class AND professional purpose AND age AND political affiliation--it's great. Because I am Bridget Jones, I decided to watch the Merchant Ivory film version on DVD Friday night at home with a glass of red wine, and, holy crap, you guys, it's sooo bad! And not because it's lacking in "action," arranging matches style, but because there's actually rather too much action. For as long as it is (about two hours and ten minutes), the pace feels ridiculously frenzied (is it the editing? I couldn't tell), the nondiegetic music is overly fussy and bullying, and most of the acting is totally lacking in anything resembling emotional intimacy. (Oddly enough, Christopher Reeve, the bloody American, is one of the few bright spots in the whole mess of stiff-upper-lippiness.) I don't know if it just hasn't aged well or if it was this bad in '93, but woof. I love a good English drawing room drama full of pregnant pauses and unspoken emotions, but nothing in the preceding clause at all relates to this movie.