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Film Review – Mr. Pip

2 min read

War is raging in a poverty stricken province residing in Papua New Guinea while a young girl becomes transfixed by Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations” which is read by the only white man inhabiting the village, and she uses it as escapism into another life far from her own.

Mr Pip was a culturally rich film; detailing a beautiful and picturesque window into the Solomon Islands and the inhabitants that exist there. Alas, it’s engrossing frames and absorbing atmosphere are ruptured by the cruel reality that is war. And existing within these elements, Mr Pip truly shines as a captivating drama of struggle and turmoil, leaving the somewhat contrived efforts of the forced theme of “Great Expectations” in the dark.

Where it suffered was contrasting between the initial premise and the escapism of the young protagonists experiences. Where it brutally portrayed the villagers lives, transporting the viewer through the window and into the unsettling unknown of their plight, the other half felt lazily pedestrian, unnecessary and somewhat, for want of a better word, ‘Ho-Hum’ in parts where it followed the young girl into her imagination and her fascination of the novel.

Mr Pip

Mr Pip failed to truly contrast between the reality that we as the viewers experienced, and the loosely based re-enactment of Great Expectations. Both mediums attempted to co-exist within the same film even though Charles Dickens’s novel served as a catalyst to certain events; making a parallel observation of life imitating art. It felt trivial alongside the human story at hand, and in most regards, complete abandonment on the idea would have strengthened the film, shortening the over drawn third act and becoming a more diverse story.

Mr Pip shone brightest when it focused primarily on the villagers, the alluring scenery and the dramatic force it gave glimpses of behind the characters and their situations. But it attempted to achieve to many thematic outcomes, leaving an unfocused and deterring experience in its wake.

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