Feb 1, 1998 -- "Great Expectations" is a movie based on the Dickens classic story that benefits from great acting and inventive camera work, but is ultimately dragged down by the slow and awkward way the plot unfolds.
Among the great performances in the film are those of Robert De Niro who plays the escaped prisoner, Lustig, Anne Bancroft, who plays the loony heiress Mrs. Dinsmoor, Ethan Hawke, who plays the protagonist, Finnegan Bell and Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays his hard-to-get love interest, Estella.
While everyone is emoting away with great intensity, the screenplay seems to wander aimlessly with random acts of coincidence throwing people together time and again. I never really bought the relationship between Finnegan and Estelle. Oh, I could buy his fascination with her, but her interest in him didn't come across well. It seemed more like she was playing with him rather than falling in love with him.
I would have liked to have seen more of Lustig and Finnegan's mentor, Joe, (played by Chris Cooper), but poor Finn is left to develop in a near-vacuum, with only his enormous talent to fall back upon. Finn is cast adrift in the chaos of New York City's art world, and the audience is adrift with him. This film rates a C.
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