Combustible Celluloid
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With: Keira Knightley, Matthew MacFadyen, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Donald Sutherland, Judi Dench, Brenda Blethyn, Claudie Blakley, Cornelius Booth, Rupert Friend, Tom Hollander, Tamzin Merchant, Kelly Reilly, Carey Mulligan, Penelope Wilton, Talulah Riley, Simon Woods, Peter Wright
Written by: Deborah Moggach, based on the novel by Jane Austen
Directed by: Joe Wright
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild thematic elements
Running Time: 127
Date: 07/25/2005

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Plain Jane

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

During the stampede of 1990s Jane Austen movie adaptations, Pride and Prejudice was left out, mostly because of the unmatchable 1995 BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth. Making his feature debut, director Joe Wright tries to throw in his belated two cents with this mixed bag that casts a delightful Keira Knightley -- who apparently can do no wrong -- as Elizabeth Bennet, but also a bland Matthew MacFadyen (The Reckoning) as Darcy. Darcy is supposed to brood and smolder, but MacFadyen only looks glum. Wright muffles the humor and drama and creates long, draggy stretches while other cast members flounder about in the wings, but Knightley forces certain scenes to spring back to life, and Donald Sutherland matches her as the wise, yet bemused Bennet patriarch.

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