Far From the Maddening Crowd (Blu-ray)

August 18, 2015 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Typically not a fan of these types of films, Far From the Madding Crowd offers a pleasant surprise. While not a great film or one I’d return to multiple times, there’s still plenty to enjoy in this film. Based on the novel by Thomas Hardy, the story centers on a headstrong woman Bathsheba (Carey Mulligan) and relationship with three different men. We first meet a sheep farmer by the name of Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts). It’s clear very early on that he loves Bathsheba, he even proposes to her. She declines, but we still follow these characters for a while. The second suiter is her new neighbor William Boldwood (Michael Sheen). He seems more mature than Gabriel and seems to have a bright future ahead of him. After a little time, he, like Gabriel, proposes to her out of the blue. The last man she encounters is Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge). He’s a sergeant who is supposed to have married Fanny Robbin (Juno Temple), but she ends up at the wrong church. We then follow Fanny and Bathsheba for a bit.

As mentioned, I’m not usually a fan of these sorts of films, but this works better than most. I think in large part due to the cast, especially Mulligan who gives a strong central performance. The story is somewhat intriguing as well as we follow her adventures and wonder which man she will choose. It is a bit predictable, but the journey was interesting. I haven’t seen the 1967 version starring Julie Christie, but I feel compelled to check it out one day. I’d like to see how the two versions differ from one another. Regardless, this version is well worth checking out, and the pacing is very good here. Some elements do feel more developed than others, but nothing feels shortchanged.

Video: How’s it look?

The 2.40:1 AVC HD encode looks good as we might expect.  The landscapes of England look great, have depth and detail and texture is palpable. There seems to be a bit of a yellowish hue that was a tad bit distracting and while  I have no doubt that this was intentional and not a fault of the transfer as Fox usually does a great job with their new to Blu-ray films. Director Thomas Vinterberg has shown he’s got a great eye, so though the visual appearance is a bit on the inconsistent side, it balances out quite nicely.

Audio: How’s it sound?

While not an audio powerhouse, Far from the Maddening Crowd does contain a mildly impressive DTS HD Master Audio mix. Vocals take front and center here (literally) and though the accents are a bit hard to decipher at times, it’s no fault of this lossless mix.  Surrounds are always present, adding a bit of depth to some key scenes, such as those in London.  LFE aren’t really that involved and the front stage bears the burden of the majority of the mix.  All told, it’s not bad by any means, but there’s not a whole lot else that left a lasting impression either.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Deleted Scenes – A rather robust collection of scenes cut from the final version of the film. Nearly 18 minutes’ worth are included.
  • Promotional Featurettes – These range from three to five minutes in length and offer a tad bit more insight into the film’s production. We’ve seen it all before, so while these are nice to have I don’t imagine that there’ll be much repeat viewability. 
      Bathsheba Everdene

      The Suitors

      Adapting Far from the Madding Crowd

      The Look of Far from the Madding Crowd

      Gabriel Oak

      William Boldwood

      Sergeant Troy

      The Locations of Far from the Madding Crowd

      Thomas Vinterberg

  • Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Digital HD Copy

The Bottom Line

Led by a strong central performance from Carey Mulligan, Madding Crowd is well worth watching. I’m not usually a fan of this sort of film, but this one works well. It’s at least worth renting. Recommended.

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