Nineteen Eighty-Four

1984, Movie, R, 117 mins


In this admirable attempt at bringing George Orwell's classic novel to the screen, director Michael Radford is perhaps too faithful to his source material. This is the well-known story of Winston Smith (John Hurt), a citizen of Oceania whose job it is to rewrite history for Big Brother, the autocratic symbol of a repressive regime that has forbidden such things as freedom of thought and expression--including sex. Winston becomes involved in an illict love affair with Julia (Suzanna Hamilton), a young woman who works in the Ministry of Truth. Unfortunately for Winston, a high-ranking member of the government, O'Brien (Richard Burton), who has looked upon him as a protege, discovers the rebellion. Orwell wrote his novel in 1948, and his vision of the future is unrelentingly bleak. Radford chooses to present a view of the future as it might have looked to Orwell in 1948. This is not a future made up of colorful blinking lights and high-tech manufacturing; it is a gray, dull, stark, depressing world possessed of little visual stimulation. The performances in the film are excellent, and its look is entirely appropriate and mesmerizing--but only for a while. The film's basic flaw is that it's just too painful, too depressing, and too slow to watch. leave a comment

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Nineteen Eighty-Four
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