Communicator (communicator) wrote,

The Crimson Petal and the White

One of the few TV shows I am watching at the moment is the TV dramatisation of Michel Faber's big historical novel The Crimson Petal and the White with Romola Garai as Sugar, a young Victorian prostitute who becomes the mistress of a rather drippy industrialist played by Chris O'Dowd (from the IT Crowd). The series also stars Richard E Grant, Gillian Anderson, Mark Gatiss and Shirley Henderson.

Faber wrote an article in the Guardian about the adaptation, saying that he felt it really captured the spirit of the book. I agree.

The story takes many of the features of a conventional Victorian novel, such as the mad wife and the unloved child, and portrays them in a harshly critical light. Like Mad Men it criticises the invisible privilege and complacency of the powerful. Chris O'Dowd is very good - comedians often are when they turn to straight acting for some reason - his character is weak and selfish, but he can't see that, because his whole world is assembled to privilege his class. The perfect Victorian home he has created is a dungeon of horror, but nobody can see it or talk about it. I think perhaps the horror is more explicit in this TV version than it was diluted in an immense novel. It's not that he is evil in himself - he's just ordinary - but the huge inequalities of power in society generate evil from normality.
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