The Dead Reviews
When I read Joyce's story in Dubliners, I thought that it was unfilmable. The conflict exists in the passage of time, the inability to really know another, and the inevitability of death -- all themes that can be conveyed but with the subtlety inherent in Joyce's writing. And when I finished John Huston's adaptation of the story, my opinions haven't changed. What emerges in Huston's work is a work of too much subtlety, and I doubt that I would understand the story's point had I not read Joyce's original work. In fact, I think the film is a good "visual Cliff's Notes" of the story.
The performances by Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann are both quite strong. I've never seen Huston as vulnerable as she is in the final scene, and her performance gives the film the grace and emotional power it needs.
Overall, this is not a bad film; it's just a good attempt at the impossible.