American Pastoral (2016)

American Pastoral
Director: Ewan McGregor
Writer: John Romano
Based on: Philip Roth‘s novel
Cast: Ewan McGregorJennifer ConnellyDakota FanningPeter RiegertRupert EvansUzo AdubaMolly ParkerValorie CurryDavid Strathairn
Seen on: 21.4.2017

Plot:
Swede (Ewan McGregror) and Dawn (Jenniger Connelly) have pretty much the perfect 50s life: he is successful, she is beautiful and they married out of love, of course. Their daughter Merry finally completed their life, despite her stutter. But now Merry (Dakota Fanning) is a teenager and she’s rebelling against everything. Swede and Dawn find out just how much she’s rebelling when they’re confronted with the suspicion that Merry was involved in a bombing that ended fatally. Merry herself disappears and Dawn and Swede are left desperately trying to piece together what happened to her.

Given that American Pastoral was based on a Roth novel, I didn’t set my hopes for the film too high, but in a moment of weakness prompted by McGregor’s prettiness, I decided to watch it anyway. I shouldn’t have bothered.

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The Canal (2014)

The Canal
Director: Ivan Kavanagh
Writer: Ivan Kavanagh
Cast: Rupert Evans, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Steve Oram, Hannah Hoekstra, Kelly Byrne, Calum Heath, Carl Shaaban
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard Morrissey.]

Plot:
A few years ago David (Rupert Evans) moved to a new house with his wife Alice (Hannah Hoekstra) and his son Billy (Calum Heath). Back then they were happy but nowadays, David doesn’t trust Alice anymore. He believes that she has an affair. Things start to escalate when David stumbles on old film material of his house, showing a police investigation after a gruesome murder at his place. Afterwards David follows Alice to catch her in the act of infidelity – which he achieves. She disappears then, while David passes out in a public toilet, making him the prime suspect. But he starts to believe that there really is some evil at his house that is responsible.

The Canal was all over the place, trying too many things at once that just won’t come together in anything coherent. Which makes it pretty frustrating.

the-canal

[SPOILERS]

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Emma (2009)

Continuing the adaptation watching after finishing the book, is the BBC’s newest Emma, a miniseries directed by Jim O’Hanlon and starring Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, Michael Gambon, Jodhi May, Louise Dylan, Blake Ritson, Tamsin Greig, Laura Pyper and Rupert Evans.

Plot:
Emma Woodhouse (Romola Garai) is “handsome, clever, and rich” and also very interested in matching the people around her. She credits herself with matching up her former governess Miss Taylor (now Mrs Weston) (Jodhi May) and Mr Weston (Robert Bathurst) and encouraged by that success, sets about her next “victim”, naive and unrefined Harriet Smith (Louise Dylan). Despite the warnings of her friend Mr Knightley (Jonny Lee Miller), Emma wants to match Harriet with the local vicar, Mr Elton (Blake Ritson). For herself, Emma has no plans – other than Mr Weston’s son Frank Churchill (Rupert Evans) (who she has never met) excites her curiosity.

This miniseries is definitely the most literal adaptation of the book so far – little wonder, since it’s also the only one that gets four hours to tell the story. It has a surprisingly modern feel to it, which doesn’t always work and high production values, but around the middle it just stopped holding my interest.

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