Armando Iannucci directs Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton and Ben Whishaw in this Dickens adaptation following the ups and downs of an orphan in Victorian England through to adulthood.
Vibrant, gloriously designed, filled with the wonderful faces of the best non-luvvies of British comedy and some eye-catching new kids. Hugh Laurie’s permanently baffled down heel toff is the highlight but everyone lands laughs and a place in our affections. Iannucci races through a lot of plot and characters with a nimble briskness, it moves hell for leather yet rarely feels strained. The wrap-up is the only time the steadiness of this rat-a-tat energy threatens to bolt. He also manages to make what is essentially a shabby chic comfort pie feel quite pointedly political again. The streets of London are littered with the destitute and there isn’t a character oppressed or ruined at some point. Britian without its safety net of benefits, healthcare and housing. Feels painfully familiar. This might not be as hilarious or barbed as In The Loop or The Death of Stalin but it feels like it might be the most rewatchable of Iannucci’s cinematic ventures. Dickens is a timeless legend of ensemble tale telling for a reason, and, boy, do his words chime nicely with our modern satirist’s worldview.