Tamara Drewe [Blu-Ray] Stephen Frears

Tamara Drewe [Blu-Ray] Stephen Frears
"I don't like cows; they exude a bovine malice," says American Glen McCreavy (Bill Camp) as he stumbles through a field with British farmhand Andy Cobb (Luke Evans) towards a sounding alarm at a neighbouring country home. They've come from a rural writers retreat owned by popular novelist Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam), whose infidelities and superficialities have sparked gossip amidst the small group of modern artists existing in an exaggerated, cartoonish vacuum of simplistic living. But this manufactured escape zone is about to be thrown into chaos when Glen and Andy stumble onto Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton), the homely girl next door returned from the city with a glamorous reporting job and fancy new rhinoplasty. Beyond the obvious town and country, modern and antiquated dichotomies throughout this adaptation of Posy Simmonds' modernized graphic serial adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd, director Stephen Frears has constructed a fanciful, witty comedy of manners. Tamara careens into this world exuding carefree sexuality and forward alacrity, sparking hormonal excitement amongst the men and petty jealousies amongst the women, challenging the polite status quo. Her seeming confidence and idyllic life are deconstructed through constant scrutiny by the many gazing eyes ready to tear down or exploit the image she exudes. But where Tamara Drewe exceeds expectations is in the titular pseudo-antagonist's complexity. Rather than being a mere object of sexuality or vampy femme fatale, she has an abundance of very human insecurities that are revealed slowly as the film progresses. At first, we see a confident, beautiful woman with the world at her fingertips, but over time, we start to see that image, much like her surgery, is just a projection of the ideal. It's just a shame that most of the secondary characters are mere ciphers for her development, which is understandable given the comic source material, but their two-dimensional portrayals keep this extremely good film from excellence. The Blu-Ray includes a commentary track with Arterton and Evans, along with supplements on the "Making of" and the "reconstruction," which elaborate upon Arterton's suitability for the role and Frears's aesthetic detail in relation to the graphic novel. (Sony)