Eddie Redmayne is haunted by a woman in war pic Birdsong.
BIRDSONG (eOne, 2012) D: Philip Martin, w/ Eddie Redmayne, Clémence Poésy. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NN Rating: NNN
There is more nudity, sex, violence and gore here than in the version aired by PBS, but Birdsong has Masterpiece Theatre's typical respectful tone and pretty pastel visuals. All that softens whatever visceral response the viewer may have to the horrors of World War I trench warfare and signals that this is art for the upwardly middlebrow.
Young lieutenant Stephen Wraysford (Eddy Redmayne) sleepwalks through the war, even when sent into the claustrophobic nightmare of tunnelling under the German lines. His attention is forever fixed on the longing and regret he feels for his pre-war affair with Isabelle (Clémence Poésy), the young wife of his industrialist boss.
Redmayne and Poésy spark together very well, and both give nuanced performances. The romance drags in the beginning, but the war story moves briskly throughout, largely due to engaging performances by Richard Madden as gentle Captain Weir, Matthew Goode as Captain Grey and Joseph Mawle as the veteran tunneller.
The brief extras focus on the actors' interpretations of their characters, so there isn't much you won't already have gleaned from the show itself.
EXTRAS Making-of doc, two explaining-of docs. English audio and subtitles.