Wuthering Heights

Film Review by Philip Concannon | 07 Nov 2011
Film title: Wuthering Heights
Director: Andrea Arnold
Starring: Shannon Beer, Solomon Glave, James Howson, Kaya Scodelario
Release date: 11 Nov
Certificate: 15

There have been many screen versions of Wuthering Heights but we've never seen one quite like this. Andrea Arnold has brought her bold, uncompromising vision to bear on Emily Brontë's novel, denying us the aesthetic pleasures we normally associate with British costume dramas, and instead investing the movie with a bracing sensuality and simmering violence.

For the first half of the film at least, Wuthering Heights is a stunning achievement, with Malick-like editing immersing us in Arnold's richly atmospheric evocation of 19th century Yorkshire. Newcomers Shannon Beer and Solomon Glave impress as the young leads, but when Heathcliff returns a grown man in the movie's second half, James Howson's limitations as an actor prove problematic.

The film never builds on the potential of its earliest sequences, instead growing repetitive, and it crucially fails to express the heartache of the doomed central romance. Arnold repeatedly asks the anguished Heathcliff to bash his head against a wall or tree, but as painful as this looks, we don't feel it.

Wuthering Heights is released 11 Nov by Artificial Eye http://www.artificial-eye.com