A Charles Dickens classic is given another bleak update in “Great Expectations.”
Steven Knight (“Peaky Blinders”) comes back to adapt another Charles Dickens story, “Great Expectations,” with similarly depressing effects after a dark retelling of “A Christmas Carol” in 2019. Even Olivia Colman’s toothy performance can’t save this six-part production, even though the fundamental tale is better suited to such tweaking, so viewers should have realistic expectations.
Pip is a destitute orphan who is given the chance to experience life amongst the higher elite by the enigmatic Miss Havisham, portrayed by Colman with a brimming horror-movie surrounding. Fionn Whitehead (“Dunkirk”) plays Pip. She comments on the youngster as she examines him, comparing his upbringing to be a man to an orchid blossoming untamed in the mud of a barn.
Naturally, there is much more happening beyond this, such as Pip’s deed of generosity with the freed prisoner Magwitch (Johnny Harris), and his brutal conflict with Compeyson. (Trystan Gravelle). The lawyer Jaggers additionally provides Pip with a taste of the brutality necessary to live the way he wants. (Ashley Thomas, whose voice seldom rises above a menacing whisper).
With savage combat sequences and inhumanity-letter obscenities, Knight and co-director Samira Radsi undoubtedly give the movie’s making an edge over its rivals. Although a devastation-hour structure allows the authors and illustrators to provide Dickens’ hefty novel its rightful place, the tale drags on slowly, and the endeavor’s diversions down dingy streets seem to harm it instead of help it.
From a business standpoint, FX/Hulu stands nothing to lose by working alongside the BBC on these shows and expanding its selection with upscale fare starring scene-winning actors such as Colman.
Knight’s obsession with Dickens, however, highlights both what separates loving that something is accessible and really deciding to spend six hours on this, in addition to the fact that these kinds of changes rarely improve well-known content (the BBC’s latest big edition came in 2011).
Hulu will debut “Great Expectations” on the 26th of this month, March.