Article by James
Much debate is raged on the topic of book-to-film adaptation whenever a much-loved book goes celluloid. Over the years there have been ones that worked – Sam Mendes’ haunting Revolutionary Road, Stephen Frears’ legendary Dangerous Liaisons, and Cronenberg’s hilarious Naked Lunch. Even the first Bridget Jones and The Devil Wears Prada. Jump up and down if you must, but these worked. You can’t film a book exactly. But then there are the bad. Like the atrocious, 1986 adaptation of The Clan of the Cave Bear, which I recently saw. Jean M. Auel must have been horrified.
Ok, there are far too many that are crap, but the problem is partly a fan’s individual imagination. Every book we love turned film, is fashioned by a director/producer/actor into a replica of their own vision. Not ours. This is actually a good thing. Love it or loathe it, you have to remember it ain’t ever going to be as good as the book experience was in your head. Letting go can give you a look into a new perspective of a world that is already familiar. And if someone with skill is at the helm, you may just have something unexpected; like Interview with The Vampire.
2012 brings two film adaptations of note. Let’s explore…
1. We Need To Talk About Kevin.
Lionel Shriver’s 2003 novel will be directed by relative new-comer Lynne Ramsey. The always-impressive Tilda Swinton will play Kevin’s mother Eva. The script revolves around letters written by Eva to Kevin’s Father. The book is harrowing and was always controversial. Eva doesn’t exactly blame herself for her teenage son’s killing spree, which now leaves him incarcerated, the parents divorced, and an overwhelming change in all their lives. She may never have wanted her son in the first place.
2. On The Road.
What can be said about Jack Kerouac’s most famous novel, On The Road? If you have read it, it’s inspiring; and beyond that, timeless in its sense of freedom. Not to forget to mention it’s something of a voice for the Beat Generation. Film that director Walter Salles. I believe you have a major generational imagination to contend with. Best known for playing Ian Curtis in Anton Corbijn’s debut feature, Control, Sam Riley plays Sal. Garrett Hedlund of Troy: Legacy fame plays Dean. Also starring Twilighter Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen, this is one to watch.
For all the hoopla, I’ll go see both. And I’ll also be just as rough on them. If a film can bring even half the stuff a great book can bring, its worth giving a shot.