Thursday, 20 May 2010

Forgotten Characters 2:11

In the wake of The Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean I ended up believing that Orlando Bloom was a part of Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice. It wasn’t until some time later that I realised that it was no him, but his doppelganger (to me, at least). Now at the turn of a decade Bloom’s name is forgotten, truthfully, few remember this young man either…
               
Rupert Friend in Pride & Prejudice
As Mr. Wickham
Friend probably gets the best entrance in Pride & Prejudice. Lizzie and Jane walk chatting through the streets, she loses her handkerchief and in a billow of cloth we spy the face of Friend’s soldier. Carey Mulligan’s giggles incessantly (more on her in P&P), “Did you drop yours on purpose, Lizzie.” As much as I love Austen’s work (and I do) I am always amused by how many of her books (all arguably) have our heroine being duped by a good-looking but duplicitous man. Friend’s performance isn’t anywhere as good as Wise’s take on a similar character in Sense & Sensibility, but he does well. He’s charming if not a little bland, I’ve said it before – he’s so good I wish he’d been given Simon Wood's role of Bingley. But Friend succeeds in making Wickham affable enough so that we end feeling a little - a little - derailed when we find out the inevitable truth, he's a cad.
Pride & Prejudice is a bite-sized version of Jane Austen's novel (albeit, a delicious bite) so Wickham doesn't really get that much to do, but I really do feel Rupert plays him well. That return to the Bennett's after Lydia's marriage is as uncomfortable as it should be. He's so obviously out of placed there, I can't even imagine he and Lydia at home. They're so obviously unsuited. It's a thankless role, of course. It's not villainous enough to be completely memorable, and he's not good so we don't like him either. All things considered, though, it's a good effort. It was only his second film role, but he showed promise (promise that I hope is soon fulfilled).
               
Do you agree, is he good here or forgettable?

3 comments:

Jose said...

All I can think of when I see him here is that he and Keira fell in love during the shoot and who blames them?
They're both so damn beautiful although he makes a much better Wickham than he'd ever made a Darcy. His prettiness doesn't have the sigh-inducing ability Matthew's has.

Luke said...

As I will always say, everything about the A&E miniseries is superior (though I truly think this film version has a whole lot of merit). As far as Friend goes, he didn't really impress me until The Young Victoria. I thought he played Albert perfectly. Though it was hard to see him as a romantic lead after he was such a sleaze in P&P and Cheri.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

jose they do seem like a good fit, glad they're still together. i can't give a valuable opinion on the sigh inducing quality of mcfayden, though...:)

luke actually, this is my favourite incarnation (bite sized and all) for reasons like eliza is actually the right age. i studied the book in high school and the a&e is more expansive...of course.