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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

February 28, 2013 at 9:35 AM

‘Parade’s End’ on HBO

(Just as an aside: Every morning, I cruise through a few movie-news sites looking to see if there’s anything of interest. This morning, I was thrilled by the Deadline.com headline “Literary Manager Alan Rautbort Joins Circle of Confusion,” which struck me as a) a very honest description of what actually goes on in Hollywood, or really any work environment, and b) my, that must be a very big circle, and how does one join, and how is this news? Anyway, it turns out that Circle of Confusion is a “management and production firm.” Ah well.)

Anyway. Anyone else watching “Parade’s End” on HBO this week? In case you haven’t heard: it’s a five-hour, five-episode miniseries, adapted by Tom Stoppard from the series of novels by Ford Madox Ford, set in EnglandĀ  immediately preceding and during World War I. But don’t mistake this for “Downton Abbey”; this is serious drama that requires careful listening, as Stoppard always does (I may have to go back and watch the first part again, to catch some exposition that flew by). Benedict Cumberbatch, with his velvet-wrapped voice and perpetually pursued lips, is the main character: Christopher Tietjens, a young but old-fashioned man facing a rapidly changing world. Rebecca Hall, doing devilishly good work here, is his troublesome wife — you can’t stand this woman, but Hall makes her fascinating. (“I want to kill him,” she says of her husband, “so I can see if there’s any blood in him.”) I’ve only seen parts 1 and 2 so far (part 5 airs tonight; I’m watching it on demand so am a little behind), but can say that “Parade’s End” is beautifully filmed and utterly compelling. More when it’s done.

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