So when we alerted our Special Envoy to the Court of King Festus that we were going to see the latest Jane Eyre flick, the reply we received was "Beige." Anyone might be forgiven for thinking that was code (wikileaks take note), but no, in fact it was a thoroughly accurate assessment. And as I was watching the film, and all those endless shots of Landscape, or People Observing Landscape, or People in the Landscape Observing the Landscape, I was trying not to laugh, because our Ministry of Elsewhere has a zero tolerance policy for shallow pretense masquerading as art, and I was imagining our Envoy sitting through this movie while gnashing her popcorn in an ever-increasing state of irritation, wishing for an Eddie Izzard-style Room with a View OF HELL!! scenario which, sadly, would never come to pass.
Though no doubt it was not only the ponderous passage-of-time, nothing-ever-happens-here-oh-yeah-except-for-the-thing-in-the-attic overkill, but also the acting...the script...the general anemia of the enterprise. Really, if you're going to pay Judi Dench the fee she probably now commands, give her something to do, and not less than is in the book. It isn't like your screenwriter has to invent stuff out of whole cloth, it's all right there. And Michael Fassbender, though no doubt interesting to look at -- they seem to have done a fabulous embalming job, but seriously, people, that's not what the story is about, and if you are making Jane Eyre vs the Zombie, well, use a real zombie, they emote better. And if you're going to cut so liberally -- no torn veil? none of Mrs. Fairfax's serious misgivings? and chez Rivers, though being given pride of place in the re-worked narrative order, barely a blip on the radar, because all the scenes are left out that explain who those people are -- if you're going to leave all that out, it should be a shorter movie. Or at least not feel like you're living through it in real time, watching the grass grow like all the other inmates.
Nice lawn, though.