"Of all great writers," Virginia Woolf said of Jane Austen, "she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness." Today the rector's daughter from Steventon has an entire industry devoted to arguing her greatness and puzzling over why she's failed to shrivel in popularity after two full centuries. Part of the reason must be that her characters are deliberately spooned out of time; they live their lives in a country heaven, high-walled by greenery and far away from news of the Napoleonic wars raging around them, or any other change agents. In the latest attempt at the author's masterpiece, Pride & Prejudice, director Joe Wright acts as a loyal guardian to Austen's tightly-corseted vision of little England, and doesn't allow in anything that should upset her most ravenous fans. With cinematographer Roman Osin, he also demonstrates some fresh ideas about how to shoot a period picture. Tiny duckboard bridges, wild animals with proudly-swinging equipment, and the cramped spaces of a modest home are given as much attention here as the giant, corkscrew English elms that twist up and out of frame.

categories Cinematical