‘Parade’s End’: Benedict Cumberbatch has a bad case of the mumbles



Caught up with “Parade’s End” and I’ll say this about HBO’s “Downton”-like miniseries:

1. It looks gorgeous.

2. Benedict Cumberbatch’s muddy elocution got in the way of the story. For long patches of the five-part series, it was impossible to figure out what his character was saying. I get that Christopher Tietjens was supposed to have a stiff upper lip — and be restrained to a fault — but director Susanna White did the audience no favors by allowing him to mumble his words so.

I wanted to shake his shoulders like Gen. Campion and say: Enunciate, good man!

This tortured diction was evidently intentional, given that Christopher’s father in the series, portrayed by Alan Howard, spoke in the same incomprehensible fashion. Spoiled and vivacious Sylvia (Rebecca Hall) was a welcome antidote to these two marble mouthed men.

I liked the complexity of the characters — especially Sylvia — and swooned over her outfits and the gorgeous scenery away from the front lines in Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s World War I novels. But I really wish Cumberbatch had spoken more clearly.

One thought on “‘Parade’s End’: Benedict Cumberbatch has a bad case of the mumbles

  1. I totally agree. In fact, his portrayal of the components of Tietjen’s character left a lot to be desired. I thought his portrayal was insipid, in every instance, war or homefront.

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