Bleak House (Special Edition) View large image
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Film Details

Directed by: Susanna White Justin Chadwick

Produced: 2005

Countries & Regions: United Kingdom

DVD Details

Certificate: PG

Studio: 2 Entertain

Length: 480 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 13 November 2006

Cat No: BBCDVD2243

Extras:
Anamorphic (16:9)
Languages(s): English
Interactive Menu
Screen ratio 1:1.78
Dolby Digital 2.0

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Bleak House (Special Edition)

Cast: Charles Dance , Denis Lawson , Warren Clarke , Gillian Anderson , Harry Eden , Johnny Vegas , Burn Gorman , Carey Mulligan , Philip Davis , Matthew Kelly , Anna Maxwell Martin , Lilo Baur , Loo Brealey

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Epic BBC adaptation of the Dickens classic, with a script by acclaimed writer Andrew Davies and performances from Gillian Anderson, Denis... Read More

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Epic BBC adaptation of the Dickens classic, with a script by acclaimed writer Andrew Davies and performances from Gillian Anderson, Denis Lawson, Charles Dance and Anna Maxwell Martin, amongst many others. High and low life in Victorian London is explored to the full when young Richard Carstone (Patrick Kennedy) and his cousin Ada (Carey Mulligan) are caught up in the interminable legal case of Jarndyce vs Jarndyce. Drawn into a world where the icy and composed Lady Dedlock (Anderson) hides a dark secret, and where their lives will be affected by the attentions of their friend Esther (Martin), their guardian Mr John Jarndyce (Lawson), and the predatory attentions of various unscrupulous lawyers, boarding house owners, and debt collectors, the two young cousins will each meet with very different ends as the case approaches its long-delayed conclusion.

Hailed as one of Dickens' greatest novels, Bleak House is the story of the legendary legal case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce. A slant on the corrupt nature of the Victorian judicial system, the plot is motivated by money and its surplus or deficit, and cemented by some wholeheartedly genuine characters and a few drops of pure unadulterated evil.

This adaptation ensnares its viewers immediately, submerging the viewer relentlessly in the gritty heart of Victorian London. This is the best BBC costume drama broadcast in a long time, proving that they still have the ability to do Dickens better than anyone else. The shifty camera work, constantly switching angles, compels viewers to believe that some new unidentified horror is lurking just around the corner, with deceit temporarily masked by the ever-lingering fog. Despite the authenticity of the costumes and production design, the filming technique and the sound effects used at the change of scenes give a welcome contemporary edge.

The cast, without exception, portray their characters flawlessly. Charles Dance's Mr Tulkinghorn truly is the personification of all that is evil and malicious, while the drunken and repulsive Mr Krook could have been specially written with Johnny Vegas in mind. Gillian Anderson meanwhile portrays an enigmatic Lady Deadlock, frail under the weight of her enormous, dreadful secret.

When shown on TV, there were complaints that the episodes were not long enough and the cliffhangers were too intense, so it's an absolute pleasure to watch it on DVD where we are free to cheat and not face another week before finding out the new intricate twists of this macabre tale.

Andrew Davies’ excellent adaptation of Dickens’ novel adopts the modern soap opera format of 30-minute chunks, which brings back both the original serialised format and leaves you begging for the next instalment. Superb acting from a great cast, stunning sets and production design, compelling pacing and a gripping story – surely the best soap opera ever made?

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