Fahrenheit 451 Reviews
Where do I begin? The awkward dialogue, the shots the just linger waay too long to the point of absurdity, scenes filmed in reverse and played in both ways, random slow motion, the strange cuts and transitions, precisely two random acts of screen-blacking to force attention, the spaced-out characters, hiding books in a toaster, that TV programme that so creepily stops to ask the viewer how to procceed, the dude's wifes amorous "Haaaa~" bit, flying policemen, and the firemans pole that goes UP somehow as well as down, also that same pole seems to reject the protagonist going up later in the film, as if it has a concious understanding of his recent activities while the rest of the force is oblivious (they should just have these poles everywhere, test people on it and then they would know who's been reading books or not). Also, later, he can't even slide down the pole, I guess it would just stop physics and he would just float there, so instead he opts for the stairs.
On top of all this hilarity, there is an interesting allegorical concept .
4/5 Would laugh again.
By The Outsider "Muso" (London) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fahrenheit 451 [DVD]  (DVD)
The film version of Ray Bradbury's classic sci-fi is nearly as good as the book, thanks to Francois Truffaut and a host of helpers. The look of the film is a blend of Truffaut and Nic Roeg (who shot it), the sound track by the incomparable Bernard Hermann, and a beautiful, true to the novel (mainly) script.
The odd thing - which results in a star removed - is moving the setting out of the USA into a Europe that doesn't exist. This is a clear McCarthy era paranoia tale, and without this, the film seems even weirder. Casting the German Oskar Werner is just plain bizarre. He is blank, speaks with a thick German accent while everyone else is RADA English, don't you know chaps. Montag is pretty hard to fathom as a character, but multiply this times ten in this version. I do love Julie Christies dual role as Montag's wife (now called Linda, not Mildred, for some strange reason) and his literate future girlfriend Clarisse.
All that said, this film is still a treat and a unique one at that. You will never see another one like it - it is like a film made by aliens
Fahrenheit 451 follows the story of a world where books are forbidden by law and firefighters are present to ensure they are perished via fire, and one firefighter starts to have second thoughts about his profession.
The first thing came into my mind when watching this film is the similarities this film has with A Clockwork Orange and Brazil, the similarities is found in its visual atmosphere, creating this dystopian environment, but what makes this film different from the two films I mentioned is its dystopia is found internally within its characters. The physical environment that these characters live in are actually close to home, aside from a couple of "improvements" like the wall screen. Truffaut immerses the audience in the environment and he does this by not letting the set and costume designs overwhelm the frame. It was also clever of Truffaut to not spend too much time on exploring the world and keep the film's attention towards the characters and their story.
The story of Fahrenheit 451 is driven by its message of valuing literature and the need for humans to express individualism in order for life to be fulfilling. The antagonists in this film believe that life should be equal for all and painful emotions should be repressed by society as it proves no purpose in progressing mankind forward. I may not be a book enthusiast as I personally feel that it affects my experience of enjoying a film, but I do value its existence and the impact it has had on so many people. Before cinema, television and theatre productions there were literature to escape us from our lives and allow us to learn new things that would shape our intellectual and emotional values. The government is not seen and is barely touched on in this film but Truffaut lets us feel their presence through Television programs, ensuring they are controlled and keeping rebellious act at bay.
The human story in this film is primarily driven to push the film's message but thankfully, it was still able to deliver a strong and entertaining tale delivered through its empathetic and accessible protagonist. There isn't much to Montag that isn't already expressed on the surface but it didn't matter to me as the journey he goes through intellectually and emotionally was fascinating. I did have some issues with certain fragments of the story, mainly the scenes with Clarisse and the school she worked in, as those scenes slowed down the story and lacked a strong pay-off.
The score in this film, by Bernard Herrmann, is certainly far from his best work but it does do a good enough job to amplify the film's messages and help shape the film's atmosphere and tone. My feelings towards Nicolas Roeg's photography were similar to Herrmann's score, it does a good job in keeping our attentions but it doesn't amount to anything memorable or spectacular.
The acting in this film was strong but nothing worth of high praise. Oskar Werner as our protagonist, Guy Montag, did a good job playing a man who is conflicted about his profession and has started a powerful relationship with literature. Julie Christie played two different roles in this film, giving each one a different flavour in order to have them distinguishable but the intensity she delivers on both is similar. Cyril Cusack as The Captain of Fahrenheit 451 was entertaining to watch, it was so fun to watch him spill out his personal values of literature and make them feel real; there were moments where I actually felt physical angered because of the despicable things he said.
Fahrenheit 451 is certainly one of the director's stronger efforts. After seeing this, it makes me feel guilty that I don't read enough, making me feel intellectually hollow.
An interesting interpretation of an interesting book - it is probably recommended for a one of viewing although the ending may be unsatisfying to some (although relatively true to the original book).