Monday, September 22, 2008

A Bond With Tess

Looking at the upcoming release schedule, I came across a rather strangely titled film, so I decided to investigate. I couldn't find much on this Quantum of Solace, only really this picture:

Now, I don't know who he is (some indie-film actor, I think), but I do know who she is. Gemma Arterton (for it is she) first came to public attention when she starred in the by-all-accounts-heinous revamped St. Trinian's film towards the end of last year, but it's 2008 that is already proving her breakout year. She was in another film I've avoided- the latest Guy Ritchie opus- and showed her superior status by playing the famed Elizabeth Bennett for the millisecond she was needed in ITV's hilariously entertaining series Lost in Austen (worth checking out for another young Brit, Jemima Rooper, as the modern reader of Austen who switches places with Lizzie- oh yes, you read that right). Casting news for the future also came with a big part in video game adaptation Prince of Persia (with Jake Gyllenhaal)- let's all hope that's not as shit as it looks (me, judgmental? Never.).

But I think that the role that will define Arterton's year- this Quantum thing doesn't look up to much, quite frankly- is her titular role in the BBC's latest period novel adaptation (the only thing the BBC are much good at these days, excepting celebrity dancing). As Thomas Hardy's most famous heroine, Arterton is almost perfect as Tess- likeable but not infallible (she is often infuriatingly reticent, although I think much of that is what makes me identify so much with her), beautiful but not untouchable, sympathetic but not pathetic. The script may have- apparently (I am ashamed to report I've not read the book- I'm sure it is better, derisive visitors)- made Alec D'Urberville a more straightforward villain that he was written as, but it's an impeccable production that digs deep into the personal turmoil of Tess. Of course any moment of happiness for Tess is hung over by the impending sense of doom that we all know accompanies any Hardy work- and that's what makes it so heartbreaking, and so compulsive.

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