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Pride & Prejudice

Husband Hunting

You would think the world would have had enough of Jane Austen remakes by now. But with yet another rendition of Pride & Prejudice you realize that, on the contrary, they have not. Director Joe Wright brings us this latest version, which is less insipid than you might think andůsurprisingly funny.

Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) is the spunky and outspoken second eldest sibling of the Bennet family. A family burdened with five sisters, all of whom their garrulous, meddling mother (played wonderfully by Brenda Blethyn) is desperate to marry off, starting with the eldest, Jane (Rosamund Pike). Luckily for her, she has caught the eye of the dashing and wealthy Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods). Unfortunately, Bingley has a snooty younger sister (Kelly Reilly) and an over-protective best mate in the form of Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen). The sullen and socially inept Darcy immediately catches the ire of Elizabeth and the two proceed to trade bitter quips. But you know what they say about there being a thin line between love and hate.

But you can't blame her. Darcy's dourness could sour an entire party if not an entire locale, and Bingley's urbane and manipulative sister's presence pervades every scene in which she is featured with a slightly sinister air. The actor whom shines the most in this film is Woods. His smile alone could light the whole countryside in which most the movie was set. Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins, the beau with whom Elizabeth is saddled, is the scene-stealer in this movie. His lines are as comical as they are outrageous. Judi Dench as Mr. Darcy's aunt also brings forth a standout performance.

Wright demonstrates excellent camera control and his direction shines during crowd shots. One scene in particular, of a ball, stands out. The camera glides Altman-esque from room to room, character to character, conversation to conversation in a seamless swoop. Except for the occasional mawkish lines (and there are really only two scenes that contain them), Pride & Prejudice is engaging entertainment that both sexes can enjoy.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars