16 December 2005 | httpmom
Pitiful modernization of a Victorian masterpiece.
Has the BBC, like American News programs, suddenly suffered a lack of viewer ship and in an attempt to connect to a dumbed down audience...decided to hip up (bastardize) the classics? You may think so after watching this rendition of "He Knew He Was Right." This mini series suffered from a severe split personality. It was as if the director couldn't decide if he wanted to make a classic or try to appeal to preteen girls. While watching this production I felt torn with what I sensed as a considerable gap between the Old World BBC and perhaps a New World BBC and unlike our current president...I like the Old Europe BBC.
On the one hand there were wonderful veteran players like Anna Massey, Bill Nighy ,Geoffrey Palmer, Geraldine James, and Ron Cook devouring up the screen with memorable performances...on the other... we are asked to accept a mere child actor, Oliver Dimsdale as Louis Trevelyan the main character. He was so out of his league as to be painful...why not enlist someone like Hugh Dancy or James D'Arcy to rally some real bite into the character of Trevelyan. Dimsdale came off as inept and weak rather than tragic or sympathetic. I wanted to push him off the highest peak at the earliest chance! Then we had to suffer scenes with the terribly miscast Misses French's...although David Tennant portrayed Mr. Gibson...the rivaling young women's love interest or "catch" with a great deal of humor.
Again a schizophrenia...the set design, cinematography, and costumes had the vigor of a traditional BBC production but the script seemed too contemporary for a Victorian classic...surprising from Andrew Davies who usually surpasses himself with a sharp talent to bring an audience into a different era. There was sufficient time to built the characters (the show is 240 min in 4 parts) but most fell terribly flat. I certainly hope this is not a harbinger to the next generation at the BBC because I will miss the old as much as I miss what used to be American news programs.