Directed by: Ramin Bahrani
Written by: Ray Bradbury (source) Ramin Bahrani (screenplay)
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Aaron Davis, Cindy Katz
Run-Time: 1h 40m
Genre: Drama, Science-Fiction, Thriller
Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Availability: HBO Max
In a terrifying care-free future, a young man, Guy Montag, whose job as a fireman is to burn all books, questions his actions after meeting a young woman– and begins to rebel against society. (IMDb)
Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favourite classics by my most favourite classic author. It has been adapted twice, the most recent being in 2018. This was the version I watched for this review, and for me, this adaption didn’t quite hit the mark.
It’s evident Bahrani took creative liberty to modernize this story, that was originally written in the early tv-era, way before the advent of the internet. Bradbury was never a fan of the internet, or technology for that matter, so in that sense, this film stayed true to portraying it as a powerful and scary thing. This version takes focus away from television and shifts it social media– an understandable change for the modern audience. The writing we do see people reading in the film is heavily laced with acronyms and emojis, emulating the comment section of many a live video on Instagram and Facebook.
In taking so many creative liberties, a lot of the story was changed. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but in the case of this film, I feel it differs too greatly from the original tonally. It doesn’t hold the same weight as the book and is more of an aesthetic depiction of a dystopian future.
One thing this film definitely did right was it’s casting. Michael Shannon is amazing as Captain Beatty and Jordan’s performance is emotional. Together, they carry this movie farther than any of the other actors. They maintain the tone set in the film well and deliver believable performances.
For viewers who are not familiar with this film’s source material, this film may be entertaining; but for those acquainted with Bradbury’s original may not enjoy it as much.