1984 - More like 198Bore
Updated: May 3, 2018
A film review by Megan-Rose Davies
Michael Radford’s screen adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian novel brilliantly reflects both the bleak post-war era that Orwell based his novel on, and the futuristic themes of Big Brother and 24/7 surveillance. However, the film seemed to be trying too hard to be as complicated and clever as possible. With too many details crammed in, key plot points were left unexplained. The result is that the viewer needs to watch the film multiple times to catch everything and fully understand what is going on.
If 1984 was to be released today, in its original format, it would be critically reviewed for its over-complexity, and lack of drama and suspense. Today’s desensitised audience demands a sleeker production than Radford offers in order to remain engaged.
The sole attraction of the production would be John Hurt’s performance in the lead role of Winston Smith. Hurt’s raw emotion and pure talent is enough to blow an audience away. Put to proper use, he would carry the film.
However, even Hurt can’t make up for the lack of suspense at supposedly tense moments. Actions are described as rebellious and unlawful, but the audience just aren’t drawn into the stakes that the characters are facing.
The film ends on a negative note, leaving the viewers pessimistic. This is not a “feel-good” film: 1984 is a thought-provoking picture that reflects Orwell’s fears for the future. Personally, I had to rewind multiple times as the film failed to hold my attention. But give it a try if you want to see John Hurt cry.
1984, 1984 [film]. Directed by Michael RADFORD. UK: Virgin Films