BRIDESHEAD REVISITED (Julian Jarrold) Rating: NNN
Brideshead Revisited squeezes Evelyn Waugh's mammoth tale of a man of no means (Matthew Goode) who finds desire and repression among the British upper class into a little over two hours, excluding credits.
It's an impressive compression of the source material, and director Julian Jarrold shoots it with the same swift pace he brought to last year's Jane Austen piffle Becoming Jane.
But moving through the story so quickly means jettisoning anything that doesn't focus on the triangle between Goode's Charles Ryder and the Flyte siblings, Sebastian (Ben Whishaw) and Julia (Hayley Atwell), which can't help but force Waugh's complex subtext harshly to the surface.
It's expensively produced and superlatively attended, with Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon and Greta Scacchi turning up in key roles, but the speed with which they appear and disappear makes the movie feel like a compendium of Waugh's most vivid scenes, rather than any kind of attempt to understand his tale from the inside out. NW