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.
I watched the trailer for this film almost as soon as it came out, as I do with most films. The title and thumbnail did little to reveal the true nature of the film and I wasn’t particularly interested in it until I actually watched the video. The trailer does a good job of showing the viewer that this film definitely has a mysterious aspect to it. The only downside I might add is that it also manages to present the film as a classic AI-takes-over sort of film. The concept itself is not cliche, but at this point it becoming so due to the over-saturation of stories regarding the techpocalypse. As a result I’ve watched many movies that fall under this sub-genre but this film is an interesting presentation of these concepts.
This film presents expository information in a very interesting way that at face value seem more simple and unimportant; to later reveal it really is very important to the plot as it unfolds. Things such as time is measured in days, rather than years, this proves to be a key in what is considered the big reveal. This decision is ingenious because when you see that it’s been 13,867 days since the infamous “extinction event” you are not immediately aware of exactly how long that is because we’re used to being presented this information in a more understandable year-based timeframe.
There are a lot of admirable aspects of this film. The acting is good, the visual storytelling is very good and the use of practical effects is present (which itself is amazing). Times like this I find myself a little disappointed that Netflix originals generally don’t include behind-the-scenes featurettes because God! I would love to see how they implemented the practical effects in the production to achieve such smooth yet robotic movements. (From what I currently understand the character of “Mother” was an actor in a suit, but I still like to know the process of learning how to move in the suit and imitate mechanical movements in such a believable manner.)
I also very much enjoyed the story this film is trying to tell. There is a level of moral greyness and ambiguity at times that makes the actions of the characters more unnerving. In the end, some details are left open, but not to the detriment of the film. In the end you leave with more questions that you started with, but in a good way.