10 May 2007 | evitabarbara
Comment on '... Journey of Mary Bryant'
The reaction to the British miniseries 'The incredible journey of Mary Bryant' seems to be a sign of the times: Whereas the accolades poured in for the portrayals of Mary and her husband, the masterfully portrayed character of Officer Clarke was misunderstood / brushed over and his complex relationship with Mary largely ignored. In my book Mary was a selfish b..., solely driven by the will to survive, with little regard for the feelings of others except those of her immediate family. Officer Clarke, on the other hand, is a much more complex character: The product of a morally strict and repressive upbringing, he is basically a decent, kind man who ends up acting mercilessly (within the framework of the cruelty sanctioned or even demanded by his job) when his pride is wounded. That is his Achilles' heel. He suffers intense humiliation when Mary, in pursuit of her own selfish agenda, at first liberates him from his inhibitions and then betrays his trust and makes a fool of him in front of his peers. The realization of her callous exploitation of his kindness and his feelings seriously wounds his whole identity. Nevertheless, he can't get himself to kill her when he has her at his mercy (in his musket's visor): Twice he lets her escape; it's only the third time that he finally 'delivers her to justice' - and had Mary not once again revealed her falseness to him by sidling up to him again, he probably would have let her escape once more. All the time he finds himself in the struggle to keep his dignity. Jack Davenport's superb portrayal of this emotionally rich and complex character deserves the highest praise. To me it was the actual focus of the film. Barbara N.