After the brutal political climate of his hilarious ‘The Death of Stalin’, Armando Iannucci turns to Charles Dickens for one of his loveliest comedy treats.
A huge fan of the Victorian author, Iannucci takes on Dickens’ favourite of his novels with unbounded energy and a wit that is as quick and sharp in its visual style as it is in the delivery of its dialogue. His and Simon Blackwell’s screenplay abridges Dicken’s 600-plus pages without losing any of its drama, emotion or humour. Moreover, unlike too many Dickens adaptations, which sacrifice humour in favour of too much plot detail, this film relishes the author’s wildly funny characterisations, quips and situations. And Iannucci’s invention is matched by the performances of his cast. Hugh Laurie gives a BIFA-winning performance as Mr. Dick, while Tilda Swinton rants and raves as Betsey Trotwood. Ben Whishaw Gwendoline Christie and Darren Boyd make for great villains, while Morfydd Clark and Rosalind Eleazar present contrasting love interests for David. But the film ultimately rests on Dev Patel’s glorious, boundless central performance, investing in the titular hero a reservoir of warmth, charisma and humanity.