I don't want to say that this is a review. I think that makes me sound pretentious. Like I'm completely sure of my opinions and that others should agree or disagree. I just found myself sitting in this film this evening and a mental list kept pushing itself into my mind. I worry sometimes that I do not think critically enough. That I only think aesthetically. As the shallow beings that we are, I am drawn to beauty. And innovations in beauty.
So these are simply my thoughts.
Usually jarring camera movement doesn't bother me too much. It gives a sense of life, of forward movement to a scene or the entire pace of a film. But I felt it was used far too much. Kayley and Maddy mentioned even feeling a little sick from it. It felt like they just decided to fire the steady-cam operator and just went for handheld whenever they were following Heathcliff up the rugid hills. It was just far too much jerkiness. The image was lost or at least dismissed by all the camera movement.
There was constant repetition of extreme close ups playing with the focus on random items: moths, a stalk of vegetation waving with the wind, long billowing strands of hair. These were paired with extreme long shots of extremely beautiful and barren countryside. Breath-taking shots. That gave you a sense of of the lonely world these characters lived in. The detailed shots also always seemed to punctuate or preface scenes--visual page breaks.
It took a long time for Kaya to appear on screen. I was waiting for her. Therefore I felt far more attached to the younger incarnation of the characters. I am usually a stickler for reading the books before seeing the film, but Wuthering Heights I only got a third through when I picked it up for my first and only time two years ago. It was nice going into the film not knowing exactly where it was going to go. And I can sometimes get bored in films, my mind will wander, and I was pleased with how engaged I was in the story.
Is it just me, or do actors sometimes wear their thoughts on their face? Or do I just give them thoughts? When older Heathcliff made his entrance, to me he screamed this is the scene where I return. I could hear him walking himself through the shot. Giving himself mental directions. Maybe I'm an after-the-fact mindreader.