Far From the Madding Crowd Blu-ray Review
There’s a shortlist of movie genres that I try to avoid. It’s not because I have a moral or personal reason to avoid them, but mainly because I watch so many movies, I like to be somewhat selective. Period pieces are on that shortlist because I’m more likely to fall asleep than stay awake during one. FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD should have lulled me into a nice deep sleep, but some superb direction keeps this movie ahead of the pack.
Just within my own knowledge, Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan) is a unique character in jolly ol’ England. She’s independent, strong-willed, and a stubborn farm owner. Sure she may have inherited the land from her uncle, but instead of passing off the hard work to farm hands, she seems to roll up her sleeves and dig in for a long haul with her new property. Everdene knows what she wants and gets what she wants, at least when it comes to her fresh entrepreneurial life.
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD’s story isn’t about her farm though; it’s about her love life. It focuses specifically three men. All are from different backgrounds and provide a little something different. What makes Everdene truly distinct is that while she ultimately will pass up on two of these men because she’s never the damsel in distress and she’s never one to settle for the nauseating charm tropes.
Gabriel Oak (Schoenaerts), William Boldwood (Sheen) and Sergeant Frank Troy (Sturridge) will eventually try to woo and place themselves inside Everdene’s heart. Each of them seem nice enough, but it says something about Everdene’s character when she seems more focused on work than she does marriage. It’s interesting to believe that such a contemporary idea like female empowerment in the workplace is stowed away in this story based on a book from the 19th century.
I have not read the Thomas Hardy book that this is based off and I have not watched the original film adaption of this movie. My quick Google search has yielded some results that say this movie is faithful to Hardy’s vision, which comes as a bit of a shock to me. It’s a bit hard for me to believe that a book written in 1874 would have such a strong feminist statement. If I were to grasp at straws, I would suspect that it’s easy for a woman to deny potential suitors in the hope of a better one, instead of shooting down the waves of men in the hopes of growing one’s financial and personal life.
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD is beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, matching the original story that it’s telling. While I’m far from the target audience for this movie, I can make an educated guess that the target audience will simply adore this adaptation. As for those who might not be connoisseurs of this film category, they’re simply going to love Everdene and Mulligans strong performance for her strong character.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) This movie is full of gorgeous countryside, as well as intimate interior shots in rustic farmhouses and lavish dining halls. All of that comes through clearly on this blu-ray presentation.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) While it’s not a powerful soundtrack, it comes through quite well on this impeccably balanced mix of ambiance and music.
Deleted Scenes (17:54): Nine deleted scenes altogether, including an alternate ending. None of these deleted scenes feel essential and the alternate ending is definitely the weaker of the two.
Promotional Featurettes: All the individual behind the scenes features are lumped under this umbrella selection of promotional featurettes. It packs nearly 35 minutes of extras, going over nearly everything. It’s nice having everything broken up so you can skip over the thing you’re not interested in and zero in on the things you’re most interested in. It goes over location, costumes, individual characters, and adaptation of the story.
Gallery: A collection of on-set photos that you can manually play or autoplay.