What did I just watch. In her follow-up to the critically praised drama Fish Tank, director Andrea Arnold goes full period piece, offering an emotionally flat and confusing adaptation of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights.
Set in a bleak, windswept part of England, Wuthering Heights - both the estate and the movie - is sucked of life and energy, its inhabitants an unsympathetic group of people who love, hate and inflict physical and mental cruelty upon one another.
I've never read Brontë's novel nor watched any other adaptations of Wuthering Heights, but Arnold's version is a gray, depressing and unrewarding film that causes the audience to suffer more than the characters do within the film. Stripped of most dialogue, the movie is a character study without depth, or meaningful characters. The camera follows Heathcliff (played by Solomon Glave and later by James Howson) as he wanders aimlessly around in the mud and rain, sometimes angry, sometimes in love, never with real purpose.
The movie is a huge step back from Fish Tank, which was a spirited, engaging and vibrant drama with interesting characters and a compelling story. Wuthering Heights features none of that and has none of that. The movie is as bleak as it looks, a soulless journey to a place I never, ever want to revisit.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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