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1984 doesn't fully emerge from the shadow of its source material, but still proves a solid, suitably discomfiting adaptation of a classic dystopian tale.
All Critics (22)
| Top Critics (2)
| Fresh (18)
| Rotten (4)
| DVD (3)
Nodding to the movie's bleak mood, Burton bleakens himself; robbed of the pleasures of the grand, show-offy way he could use his voice, the mischievous twinkle of his eye, you feel cheated.
Radford and Deakins brilliantly juxtapose these vistas of industrial decay with pastoral shots of the verdant English countryside to which the characters escape, first in person, then in their minds.
Can it live up to the masterpiece from which it was adapted? In short, the answer is no. But it makes a damn good crack at it.
Like the book, 1984 understands that forgetting these lessons puts us a step closer to the unthinkable.
Book-based tale has brutal political torture, violence, sex.
It's the linguistic cargo - the story of "Newspeak," the outlining of the censor's calling - that makes this tale still fearful.
The visuals capture the oppressive atmosphere of the novel even if the script can't quite convey the sheer horror (and chilling wordplay) whipped up by Orwell.
Its accuracy goes hand-in-hand with its unobtrusive nature, perfectly creating the ordinariness of Orwell's dystopian nightmare in ways that unsettle you only in retrospect.
Solid version of the famous sci-fi novel. Big Brother again rules.
A scary reminder of how easily totalitarian ideas and ideals crop up in societies and take fierce hold.
Better than to be expected adaptation of the book. Not bad, but nothing worthy writing Big Brother about.
Slow moving and hard to follow. Not nearly as good as it should have been. Just go read the book instead.
I have to start by stating I've read the book. That always has an impact on how one views a movie. In my case, it has been over 25 years since I read and enjoyed the book, and yet something bothered me about the movie. It seems to take a long time to parlay to us, the movie watchers, how bleak things are in 1984. I got the idea much faster reading the book. The bleakness part of the movie bored me to tears. Also, the ending seemed different - actually the movie ending confused me.
In a totalitarian society that brands any dissent or emotional connection with another individual a "thought crime", a humble civil servant enters into a sexual relationship with a co-worker at the risk of cruel and unusual punishment. George Orwell's novel is the grandaddy of all dystopian fiction and virtually every sci-fi ever made on the subject owes a debt to it. It features a regime that employs propaganda, fictional "enemies of the state" and constant war to keep its citizens subjugated and is a frightening examination of the logical conclusion to fascism. The film obviously employs imagery derived from both Nazi and Stalinist propaganda and creates a chillingly believable world where freewill is outlawed. John Hurt gives yet another acting master class as the rebel without a cause and the torture inflicted on him by a gently malevolent Richard Burton is truly horrifying. The biggest problem with the film for me is that in Winston's world there is no humour, no heroes and no hope. This is no doubt the point of the exercise but it hardly makes for a nice place to visit for 105 minutes. The unrelenting bleakness is wearying on the soul and I couldn't help thinking how both Brazil and V For Vendetta took the premise of the story here and injected either humour or inspiring rebellion to make a story which actually entertained rather than despaired. As an intellectual exercise 1984 is an admirable film but as a piece of entertainment it's joyless and pretty much all talk.
George Orwell's book 1984 is one of the most important literary works ever written. This adaptation is a well crafted film that has glimmer of hope. In fact the film is shrouded in misery, and director Michael Radford conveys the look of Oceania perfectly. This is exactly how I pictured the world to look like. The performances are brilliant and Michael Radford's directing is excellent and he captures the tone and atmosphere of the book perfectly. This is a stunning film with a great performance by actor John Hurt in the lead role of Winston Smith. There are differences from the book of course, but to say that this film is absolute crap, I think it's unfair. The film is definitely worth watching if you're a fan of Orwell's classic work of the same name. The reason the film succeeds so well is that it gets the bleak atmosphere of helplessness perfectly right and also the cast are simply wonderful in their parts. As a Dystopian / totalitarian Sci Fi drama, 1984 definitely delivers something unique and thrilling. This is a must for fans of the book, and is quite underrated in my opinion. I loved the book and I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Michael Radford definitely got George Orwell's vision of the ultimate totalitarian state perfectly nailed down. This film it leaves no place for hope, it's dark, melancholic atmosphere make it a film that you simply can't forget. A brilliant film with a great cast, 2984 is worth watching, just don't expect anything hopeful for the lead character here. John Hurt definitely is wonderful in the part, and his performance along with that of Richard Burton is the standouts of this film. 1984 captures the feel of the book perfectly, and it should appeal to Orwell fans.
There are just some stories that are better left on paper. For all my love of Orwell (and believe me it runs deep) there was something sordid about watching some of my most beloved and loathed characters play out on the screen, however well the actors delivered on their end of the bargain. When it comes to something so utterly seperate from reality as 1984 is, I feel that it is better left in the minds of those who dare to imagine it rather than to have someone elses view imagined for you and played out on the screen. This will always be one of those "you need to read the book" kinda deals.
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