Review of reviews - Trishna
What we said and what they said about Michael Winterbottom's Indian Thomas Hardy adaptation
Some of Hardy’s themes have a real resonance in this Indian setting, notably the clash between tradition and modernity, and the sexual double-standards by which Tess herself so painfully suffers, yet the film ultimately lacks the requisite emotional force.
The film is a seductive, allegorical study of male-female relationships that says more about what its characters are than who they are.
Winterbottom’s script was apparently improvised in part. This allows for a spontaneous feel; but it fails to nail some of the plot’s complexity.
Winterbottom’s quick-cut style is neither Hollywood nor Bollywood, but distinctly his own. Even the music, which mixes Trivedi’s songs with a beautiful original score by Shigeru Umebayashi reinforces the helmer’s unique approach to the material.
Visually and aurally, the film benefits from a strong sense of place, without overworking the ethnic exotica. If this transposition of Hardy comes up a little short in emotional impact, it nonetheless is a distinctive new take on a classic story.