What a beautiful, sad film.
This DVD is based on the novel by Lloyd Jones. I read the book when it first came out (2008) and found it intriguing, beautiful and somewhat confusing. The story centers on a man who teaches on a remote Pacific Island. He starts his lessons by reading a chapter from Charles Dickens’ classic novel Great Expectations. The film version of the book is also intriguing, beautiful and somewhat confusing. It juxtaposes Pip and his story in Great Expectations with life on the Pacific Island which is stuck in a conflict zone because of industrial copper mining. The film is quite grim near the end, and moves very slowly, but the continuing contrast between reality and fantasy, beauty and hostility, black and white adds to the intrigue. A creative story that blends nuances giving the book and the film thoughtful, reflective, creative expression.
Lyrical in some places, plain eccentric in others, this film shows the impact of a good teacher (who has his own flaws to manage). On a larger note, it covers the civil war in Bougainville and the terrible bargains made to keep the children living. The final third of the film was the best, as Matilda rebuilds her life and carefully sifts through what's worthwhile keeping and cherishing.
Hugh Laurie reads an unfortunately abridged version of the Dickens classic alluded to in this film. He has a rare feeling for the ironic humor of the thing. I wish he'd give it another go, this time unabridged. That would be a far superior effort for our beloved old Dr. House to this exercise, alas.
Couldn't stick it past the first 20 min. due to bad writing, bad acting (not Laurie) and sound problems made worse by no subtitles. Too hard to follow, for my money. Also, despite magnificent scenery exploited very well by filmmaker, such a determined effort to portray native islanders as naive, noble savages felt pedantic, overdone and ultimately a bore. Very unlike Dickens, who let his characters talk their way into our hearts.
Perhaps after so many super-sized lawsuits favoring Cdn natives at taxpayer expense despite decades of extremely generous subsidies -subsidies not available to all who are in need here - I may have developed a jaundiced view of deliberate aggrandizement.
When it comes to a film maker's 'message,' less is more, I find.
Warning: extremely violent towards the end. Was not expecting this. Also, I would have appreciated a little more insight into the the conflict. Some context.
A very good interpretation of Lloyd Jones' book. Hugh Laurie is brilliant. However, in this case I would far rather read the book than be confronted by the graphic imagery of a totally brutal and miserable period of south pacific history.
Obviously we all have different tastes in movies. I consider this one an excellent example of a movie I enjoyed a lot watching while recognizing many people would hate it.
I was disappointed with this movie after reading the other reviews. The history of the mining conflict is never told, the "daydreams" of Matilda are weird and the story is altogether poorly developed. That this is a portrayal of a period of conflict on an idyllic South Pacific island is the most powerful message I took from this movie. Warning: there are some brutally violent scenes.
Mr. Pip was a gentleman indeed but he should've stayed in England :(
On a tropical island shattered by war, all the white people flee, except the eccentric Mr. Watts, who sweeps out the ruined schoolhouse and begins to read to the children each day from Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations. Vividly portrays the power of words to transform the reader's life.
Graphic murders via machete; rape.
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