24 November 2011 | garethjv
Excellent alternative version - with some reservations
OK I'll start off with what I definitely found disturbing about this film and did not like. As others have mentioned there is some worrying animal cruelty in this film - no I don't mean the trapped hare or the killing of rabbits - I can easily stomach this. What did worry me is the hanging of the small dogs from fence posts by their collars which clearly left the dogs in a distressed state - I can't believe this was generated by special effects so can only assume that some dogs were left dangling in this way for the purpose of producing this film - not acceptable in my book.
That aside I actually enjoyed this film and would have given it 8 out 10 had it not been for the unnecessary cruelty. I have yet to see 'Red Road' so this was my first experience of an Andrea Arnold film. What struck me is how little dialogue there was - instead we are treated to the Yorkshire moors in all their bleakness. I think this has been done to great effect - the wind noise as the camera is bouncing along the moorland is surprisingly effective at immersing the viewer in the wild Yorkshire landscape.
The first half of the film - where Heathcliff and Cathy are still children, has some very powerful moments. Unfortunately I found the grown up versions less convincing, although it is my opinion that Arnold deliberately chose actors that did look somewhat different to their younger versions; there are many flashbacks in the second half of the film and these are made more prominent by featuring the different actors.
Other reviewers have pointed out how dark this film is and that there are no likable characters. Well surprise surprise it's an incredibly bleak book and it's a relief that this has been retained here. What is unfortunate is that the whole of the second part of the book featuring Cathy's daughter Catherine has been completely omitted, but at the slow pace of this film it would have required at least another 2 hours to cover this. Also I might suggest that Isabella was actually quite likable!
Would I recommend anyone to see this? Not to an animal lover for sure - it's unfortunate that these scenes are included and I'm slightly surprised that this is permitted in filming. But for the wonderful experience of being immersed in the wildness of the moors, definitely.