Saturday, February 9, 2008

Lorna Doone

Lots of muskets, swords, treachery and villains. A visually opulent movie based on the original novel by R D Blackmore. Gorgeous scenery, realistic settings and a decent pace throughout, make this very easy to watch. Although rated an M in Australia, pre-teens will enjoy most of it (except the kissing!)

Please don't read the following if you want this movie to unfold and be a surprise!


The story is based around a group of rebellious family of outlaws, the Doone’s, and a farming family the Ridd’s. The patriarch of the Ridd family is killed when a motley collection of Doones ride into a town. His son John, only a boy, witnesses it and is bent on revenge. His mother prevents this course of action but the family always harbours a passionate hate against the Doone’s.

Whilst still a boy, John slips in the river, is carried through the rapids, over a waterfall and found by a young girl in a secluded vale. They make quick friends, as children do, introducing each other only by first names and he teaches her how to catch fish with her hands. On hearing someone calling for her, she urges him to go and indicates a secret way out.

John grows to be a man and after his uncle is attacked by the Doone’s, John visits the glade again and sees Lorna catching fish as he taught her many years before. She doesn’t indicate her recognition immediately, but is obviously pleased to see him as a man as he is seeing her as a young woman. Their love blossoms until she tells him she is a Doone. He leaves but returns again and their commitment to each other grows.

In the meantime the Doone heir is determined to marry Lorna as marriage to her will restore the Doone’s hereditary lands – although how this will be achieved is not immediately revealed.

Eventually Lorna’s protector and head of the Doone clan dies and Lorna is destined to be married to Carver Doone. John comes to save her and takes her to his home, where she is grudgingly accepted by most of the family. Carver and a small band pursue Lorna to the Ridd farm and a skirmish proceeds, however Carver escapes unharmed.

Lorna lives with the Ridd’s and reveals a valuable necklace that was apparently her mother’s. Tom Faggus, a highwayman turned farmer and fiancĂ© of John’s sister, Annie, is aware of its value and takes a drawing of it to London whereupon Lorna is identified as the kidnapped daughter of the Lorne family and indeed is now the Lady Lorne with wealth and title. She is taken to London as her guardian is the King, and John and Lorna promise to write faithfully to each other.

John’s letters are returned and he loses faith that Lorna maintains her love for him. A rebel contender for the throne, the Lord of Monmouth is roaming the land and searching for supporters and the Doone’s join his army. In a moment of hot-headedness Tom Faggus joins the army and leaves Annie at home pregnant and fearful for his life. She appeals to John who rides after the army with the intention of bringing Tom home. He is captured near the battlefield though and taken to London where he faces hanging.

Promising to rid the King of the Doone’s forever with some well trained men, John is temporarily relieved of his sentence and returns home (after briefly seeing Lorna and renewing their commitment to each other) and attacks and defeats the Doone’s soundly, however Carver escapes again.

John is rewarded for his service to the King and is reunited with Lorna, but Carver makes one last fateful appearance….

John Ridd is played by Richard Coyle and he plays a solid farmer with a deep love believably. Lorna is played by Amelia Warner (of Narnia fame), she is attractive and fits the part very well. Carver Doone is played with suitable nastiness by Aiden Gillen and his rather slimy father Counsellor is played by Anton Lesser. Peter Vaughan is Lord Ensor Doone, a baddie but with a glimmer of soul left. Martin Clunes plays Jeremy Stickle and manages to bring a touch of humour. The grim Lord Chief Justice Jeffries is played wonderfully by Michael Kitchen. Highwayman Tom Faggus is played in a suitably swaggering manner by Anthony Calf. A surprise casting is that of an Australian - Jesse Spencer, playing the son of Baron Whichehalse.

I’d watch it again :)

No comments: