athousandwinds: (icon by prettypictures)
[personal profile] athousandwinds
You know, the 2002 film The Four Feathers...

The book is about a man called Harry Feversham who resigns his commission on the day before his regiment go out to Africa. As a result, three of his friends send him white feathers, minus his best friend, Jack Durrance, who argues that Harry must have reasons besides cowardice. But then Harry's fiancée, Ethne, also gives Harry a white feather, and he resolves to redeem himself and save his reputation by going out to Africa and doing...something brave. That's his main plan. He wants to make them all take back their feathers. Cut a long story short, he does.

In the film, they focused on Harry's experiences in the war in Africa, which was okay, I suppose. I liked that both sides were portrayed as pretty damn horrible, though I really think they should have shown more of the British atrocities if they were going to go that route. And, um, wow, Abou Fatma does a lot for Harry while getting fuck-all in return and they don't ever talk about this. Also, the white friend who gave Harry the feather in the first place seems to be more important to him than the black friend who got tortured for him. That's uneasy, to say the least. (Bearing in mind that this is an improvement on the actual novel, which is about as racially sensitive as Boris Johnson.)

The big thing from the book that they changed, though: the book spends a lot of time focusing on Ethne's journey as a character. You find out what Harry's done when his friends come to see her, and the novel focuses a great deal on how she feels about it and how she changes from the idealistic girl who was disgusted at Harry's cowardice to the mature woman who understands what he's been through. Whereas Kate Hudson's Ethne is hardly in the damn film. And also crap. I think what bothers me most about the change was that Ethne was probably the most complex character in the novel (and again, this is an Edwardian novel, a period where complex female characters were few and far between) and the story was preoccupied with her experiences as a woman left at home in a time of war. It's not something you see much. Of course, it's also very internal and claustrophobic, so I suppose I can see why.

One positive: Durrance/Feversham/Ethne were still OT3. Possibly even more so, because the film's ending is left fairly ambiguous, considering.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-05-26 10:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] enaranie.livejournal.com
I spent most of that film going "he loves him!"... I don't remember any of their names. I have a feeling the pairing in question would be Durrance/Feversham, though.

I do remember that there wasn't much of Ethne in it... givcen what you've said about the book, though, I can see why. That's hard to translate onto the screen.

I think I need to seeit again. And possibly read the book.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-05-27 10:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athousandwinds.livejournal.com
It was on last night, first time I'd seen that version. And yes, the Durrance/Feversham is rather strong.

I can see why they might have done it for filmmaking reasons, but it skeeves me out that in the book she's the central character and in the film...nada. Not cool. Internalised conflict can be done onscreen, it's just more difficult and requires a decent actress.

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Angharad

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