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‘Downton Abbey’ – Review

‘Downton Abbey’ – Review

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The lavish scale, majestic beauty and riveting drama of the beloved Downton Abbey is brought to the big screen in an opulently realized production and it makes for a very grand time at the cinema.

In 1927, King George V and Queen Mary visit Downton Abbey, causing a stir among the Crawleys and servants alike.

The pomp, style and intrigue of one of the most beloved television series of all times returns in a very impressive big-screen adaptation and both returning fans and those new to the series will find plenty to love in this film. Once again the upstairs/downstairs lives of the Crawley family and those who attend them are captured here and it’s easy to get swept up in the drama that follows in the wake of an impending royal visit.

Series creator Lord Julian Fellowes and director Michael Engler, both make a return to Downton Abbey once again, and here they craft an incredibly interesting piece of cinema that entertains on every level. This film is a massive undertaking with multiple characters, narratives, and an immense production that follows it, and Fellowes, Engler and their team craft a very impressive film.

Once again series creator Julian Fellowes crafts an incredibly interesting and dramatic film, and he balances multiple narratives both impacting the Crawley Family and their servants, and there is never a dull moment up on the screen. Focusing in on the intricacies of the British aristocracy and the pomp and ceremony on which their world is built, Fellowes builds both tension and drama at the highest and lowest levels. From high-level conspiracies and secrets to whether or not the silver has been polished. Every moment sparkles here and all of this intrigue grips you as an audience member and you’ll be very well entertained right up until the film’s ending.

As a television series, Downton Abbey was composed of moments of beautiful cinematography and this is carried over into the new film. Cinematographer Ben Smithard captures the drama with a perfect eye and the imagery here just gleams. The exterior shots of the Yorkshire county and of the manor house of Highclere Castle which serves as the setting for Downton Abbey glisten with incredible detail thanks to Smithard’s lens and these cinematic images will truly take your breath away. This imagery, combined with the sweeping score that fans have come to expect from the series, and which is carried through into the film here, builds out the emotion of Downton Abbey and audiences are sure to be entranced.

This gorgeous imagery of Downton Abbey is amplified by its incredible production and it’s marvellous in the way in which it is brought to life on screen. Capturing the height of fashion and elegance that is a cornerstone of the film’s 1927 setting, fans of the Jazz Age will be thrilled with this film which buzzes with the attractive fashions of costume designer Anna Mary Scott Robbins, which she pairs with alluring hair and make-up design, and an assortment of gorgeous jewellery pieces. All of this intricate production detail fashions a breathtaking portrait of another time and setting and there’s so much to love and admire.

The show’s original cast including Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Raquel Cassidy, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Penelope Wilton and Maggie Smith make their return here and each has their shining moment up on screen. Such is Fellowes command of his narrative that he is easily able to highlight and focus in on each one of these characters lives and the meaning that they bring to this world.

Fans of the original series will delight in seeing their favourite characters return once more and there’s plenty to celebrate here. However, it’s the treasure that is Maggie Smith who once again returns as the quick-witted, sharp-tongued and always scheming Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham who steals every scene that she appears in and it’s easy to find delight whenever she is up on the big screen.

Downton Abbey was a piece of television that truly captured the very essence of another time and society and audiences reveled in its drama and attention to detail in its original six season run which led it to being a defining part of modern pop culture. All of that is revisited here in the Downton Abbey film, and returning fans will cherish every single moment of the film. Those who are new to the world of Downton Abbey can walk into it at ease  though, and can experience its amazing world of eclectic characters and their stories first hand. There’s something for everyone here, and Downton Abbey sparkles up on the big screen with incredible detail and the love of a cast and crew who have such passion for this material.

Captured with incredible grace and filled with magnificent imagery, beautiful costuming, riveting drama and plenty of heart, Downton Abbey is a film that you must-see on the big screen and you’ll surely be delighted by every single moment of it.

Image: Universal Pictures