This is a valiant effort at a modern-day version of the Dickens classic, though I've only read half the novel, the part I have read is indeed very similar to the story line in this film--more than just the "basic story line." However Charles Dickens actually wrote two endings to his famous novel, one happier than the other. Now I'm compelled to go read the edition I have, which contains both endings. I can't wait!
The director of "The Pawnbroker," "The Hill" and "The Verdict" is capable of much better than this. While technically impressive (if a bit obvious), it takes us close to a group of unrelentingly contemptible mediocrities without any suggestion of why. Neither pathological study nor morality play, it simply dwells on the lowness of life and drags us down with it.