Stars: John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton
Genre: Science Fiction, Drama
A film adaptation of George Orwell's 1984...released in the year 1984! How clever!
I can't help but to compare this to both the novel and all the previous film adaptations, but I will try to judge it as a standalone work also.
Obviously if you're familiar with the novel you'll be familiar with the film's plot as well. In a dystopian future Winston Smith commits crimes punishable by death; crimes such as falling in love or writing in a diary.
The films stays mostly truthful to the novel, aside from the expected butcherings and missing parts (it's not easy to translate a 300-something page novel into a two hour film you know!). But, again, for the most part it stays pretty faithful and it does a fine job of maintaining Orwell's vision, world, and message.
The films visualizes a very melancholy and depressing world, nearly completely devoid of color and emotion. The film really creates a world that looks dystopic and believable at the same time. As was the novel, it's quite the downer of a film; but that is the job of a warning.
All the character's are portrayed great. John Hurt as Winston is perfect, Richard Burton as O'Brien is great, Suzanna Hamilton as Julia is good.
To compare it to earlier adaptations of the same novel, I still feel that the 1954 Peter Cushing version stayed much more faithful. And while it may not be quite as visually pleasing as the 1956 version nor does it do particular scenes as well, it still gives the 1956 version a run for its money when it comes to best theatrical adaptation.
It's a decent adaptation and a solid film. I can really only recommend it to fans of Orwell's 1984, as I imagine they'd find the most interest in it. If you haven't seen this film nor read the novel, I strongly recommend reading the novel being as there is nothing that can compete with it.
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