129 minutes| U.K.| 2011| Colour| D-Cinema

As you’d expect from the director of Red Road and Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold’s take on Emily Brontë’s famous 1847 novel has little truck with the usual heritage-cinema respectability. After all, this is 19th-century Yorkshire, up on the wild and windy moors, where life is cold, muddy and insular, and while a dark-skinned young boy named Heathcliff is welcomed into the Earnshaw family’s modest household as an act of charity, the young Cathy is the only one who takes the newcomer to her heart. Thus the seeds are sown for a dangerous passion which will come back to haunt both parties later, a scenario rendered with tactile immediacy by Arnold and her brilliantly sensitive cameraman Robbie Ryan.

Not all of the performers (Arnold’s usual blend of professionals and non-professionals) are as assured as the filmmaker herself, but this raw, brooding and astringent response to a classic novel encourages us to look again at a story we all thought we knew. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

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