Hardy’s classic re- caste
UNCONVENTIONAL as he is prolific, British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom stays true to form here, experimenting on the fly with whatever is at hand.
You have to admire the guy’s determination to keep thinking outside the square, especially once you factor in the radically reshaped source material he’s working with.
Relocating the classic Thomas Hardy novel Tess of the d’urbervilles from ye olde England to present- day India turns out to be an idea so left- field that it lands right where it should.
Purists may turn up their nose at the thought, but very little of the book’s deep musings on class and gender issues have been lost in the transition of setting and era.
Freida Pinto ( Slumdog Millionaire) plays the title role, a poor young girl from the provinces entangled in a doomed relationship with a well- to- do city boy ( Four Lions’ Riz Ahmed).
Like all Hardy tales, there are imposingly bleak stretches of malady and misfortune to be navigated. Unlike any Hardy movie adaptation, there is also a Bollywood musical interlude.
While Pinto and Ahmed are not the most gifted of actors, their lack of screen chemistry fits their eternally disconnected characters curiously well.
A slightly flawed, but always fascinating drama, it boasts stunning cinematography from Winterbottom’s ever- reliable offsider Marcel Zyskind to further seal the deal.