Friday, 4 January 2013

Wuthering Heights

I watched Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights recently and I rather enjoyed it. Everything about the direction was so different to what I had known to be conventional for classic stories. I felt that Arnold took a different approach to the story and for the first time I got to see a classic as I had never imagined before. Maybe my experience for classics isn’t vast but from the adaptions of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Oliver Twist’ and indeed ‘Peter Rosminsky’s’ 1992 version of ‘Wuthering Heights’ with ‘Ralph Fiennes’ I know that what Arnold did with the timeless classic was certainly different to the films listed.

The film concentrated on the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff, leaving out the second half of the original book where Emily Brontë focusses on characters Nelly Dean and Lockwood. When Cathy and Heathcliff are both young, they share scenes of openness and happiness. Both Cathy and Heathcliff expressed a knowing innocence when they were alone. Although it was a romance, they never broke the boundaries of their fabricated sibling relationship. It was also a relationship that didn’t fit the period time love story. It was quite raw and unrehearsed. The unsteadiness of Cathy and Heathcliff’s relationship was reflected in the cinematography, powerfully orchestrated by ‘Robbie Ryan’. The harsh, choppy, rough handling of the camera perfectly replicated the immeasurable emotions of pain, anger and love- Key themes in this story.

Arnold also justifies the use of weather and landscape in her adaption. It was as if the weather was the commander of fortune and most of the time it was merciless. The rain brought Heathcliff to the Earnshaw family which eventually became the root of his pain and suffering in many ways. The entwining branches reflected complication, the open moor allowed Cathy and Heathcliff to be together and happy , the darkness mirrored secrecy and the mist and fog appeared at times of confusion and ambiguousness. Now and again I noticed that the camera would emphasise the attention to an animal or a plant. Perhaps this was to remind the viewer of the original inspiration of the book and the importance of the setting. Or maybe it was to remind the viewer of natural beauty in unlikely things; after all, the focus on the setting was a sharp difference from some of the intensity of the acting. I did feel that the landscape and setting ran parallel alongside some characters; Cathy a bird, Heathcliff a venerable animal taken to slaughter and Hindley a loud dog.

Overall I really appreciated this film. Arnold’s ‘Fish Tank’ and ‘Red Road’ were superb and I felt she lived up to her expectations with this rendition of Wuthering Heights. This film was bleak, depressing and sad but I still loved it.


1 comment:

  1. Who wrote this, in future remember to 'label' your review with your name! Eva:)