May 13, 2011
"Lavish," said the Guardian of this 17th Century English romantic drama.
"Fine performances," added the UK's Sun.
"Authentic atmosphere," expanded the London Evening Standard.
So who am I to say otherwise?
For me, the DVD offers almost textbook "How to make an iffy film." (To be fair, it was made for TV.)
The movie is short of experienced writers, actors and director. And Clive Owens desperately needed a hairdresser. (To be fair, it was made for TV.)
The cockamamie courtship by the very beautiful Clive Owen (John Ridd) and the very handsome Polly Walker (Lorna Doone) lasted as long as a glance, and by the sequent sighting, they were betrothed. (To be fair, it was made for TV.)
The contrived settings were a matter of plot convenience: open dry plains for horse rides adjacent to lush tropical waterfalls for secret romantic rendezvous. In the shootout, three gals and a guy beat a battalion of commandos. (To be fair, it was made for TV.)
And how about those resurrection recoveries from mortal wounds?
So why indulge in Lorna Doone?
For actor aficionados, film fans and Anglophiles, it's fun to see the fledgling career moves of screen talent. For both Owens and Walker, this production was an early outing. Here, Clive can't yet act, but he can flaunt those exotic lips. And the alluring looks of Polly helps minimize all other shortcomings.
Acting by Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings and the formidable star of the Game of Thrones, the heralded drama now playing on HBO), does leverage the believability a bit, however he can't do it alone.
But there are authorities who would say I am wrong: that Lorna Doone is lavish and authentic and features fine performances. They salvaged it; I savaged it. Now you can decide.
The minimalist Extras are filmographies of the actors and a biography of R. D. Blackmore, the novelist who wrote the wildly popular book on which many screen versions have been based.
Studio: Acorn Media
Director: Andrew Grieve
Cast: Clive Owen, Polly Walker, Sean Bean, Billie Whitelaw, Miles Anderson, Hugh Fraser, Paul Young, Jane Gurnett, Michael MacKenzie, Andrew Ferguson, Claire Madden
Length: 87 minutes
Rated: Not Rated
Aspect ratio: 4:3