An engaging and generally true-to-book adaptation. I'm not sure why the film has such incredibly low reviews, other than that its target audience has particularly high expectations, and would rather not see a classic novel portrayed by such a prominent celebrity. Obviously the film's budget was not on a Hollywood score--though its actors performed at a higher and more believable score than any Hollywood film I've seen in years. Compared to the book, which is already harrowing, the film turns up a notch on the violence, explicitly showing Dewey Dell's attack and even going so far changing injured Cash to amputated Cash. This I could have done without, and would have preferred Franco to keep a bit of the novel's subtlety and mystery.
What the film does well: capturing the mood and "gaze" of Faulkner. Each character's expressions and dialogue are given their own screentime, and the emotion in each comes through incredibly beautifully. Franco's portrait of Darl is sympathetic and true to form, as well as the emotional Jewel and straightforward Cash.
It's an imporessively acted, cast, and directed film overall. An ambitious project not to be taken lightly.