Bleak House is Anything But

I watched the first installment of Masterpiece Theatre’s Bleak House last night and was really, really impressed by it. Everything worked. The adaptation is great, weaving together all the storylines and characters in a brisk pace that moves it along without rushing. The cast is great, in particular Gillian Anderson and Charles Dance are terrific.

I’m most impressed by the cinematography, which employs a lot of modern techniques (quick edits, rapid swishing camera movements) to great effect, along with stunning composition and lighting to create images that are atmospheric and powerful. The soundtrack is equally effective, heightening the ominous undercurrent that pervades the story; it rivals Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack for “Lost,” consistently the best part that TV series.

Having just read the book (lamely referred to as “the companion book” in PBS promos) I’m really enjoying watching the story unfold visually. They’ve done a great job with it so far. While a couple of plot points have been tipped off earlier than in the book, it makes sense and doesn’t ruin the impact of the story to come. My only complaint is that PBS isn’t broadcasting it in HD, which given how amazing it looks, is a real shame.

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