Top positive review
9 people found this helpful
Great acting; faithful to the book
on March 12, 2009
After enjoying this DVD set, I was inspired to read the book, which I had not done since high school. As I read, I compared the scenes in the book and the movie. This production sticks more closely to the book than any other movie/mini-series based on a book that I have ever scene. Of course, they could not fit the entire book into the time alloted, but they missed very, very little. Generally speaking, the scenes from the book were in the movie, but they were abbreviated with less detail and shortened dialogue. What's missing? The movie never makes the connection between Miss. Pross and Barsad, wich isn't very important. I missed seeing Little Lucie's attachment to Sydney Carton, which could have been slipped in quickly and easily. The only additions to the story not found in the book were done to explain things to the viewer. One character would explain something to another character which Dickens related to the reader in his narration. The movie did show Sydney Carton outside the church in distress while Darnay married Lucie. This was a nice touch; Dickens should have thought of this. Much of the dialogue comes straight out of the book.
Many of the actors do a superb job. James Wilby portrays Sydney Carton to perfection. In order to fully appreciate his performance one has to be familiar with his performances in other movies to see how he has altered himself for this role. More than just his hair color was changed. His voice is different, his posture slouches, he walks ploddingly. It's just amazing to see this normally elegant actor turn himself into a frumpy mess. John Mills is 100% perfect as Jarvis Lorry. He is completely convincing right down to his bad wig. The casting of characters like Monsieur DeFarge, Miss. Pross, Barsad, the little seamstress, Jerry Cruncher, the woodcutter, etc. are just right. Even the exras in crowd scenes have the right look. The citizens of London look British, and the extras in the Paris mob scenes look French.
It's a complicated story, so the viewer must pay attention, particularly a viewer who is unfamiliar with the book, but it's a great and moving story. Every time I watch it I want to tell Sydney Carton not to do it. He's one of the greatest characters in English literature, and he's brought to life in this production.