I’ve mentioned before that a film can be an excellent aid to visualisation and that, since I’d much rather watch a film than revise, my visualisation abilties have reached a level only slightly below ‘Superhuman’ but slightly above ‘Batman’. Here I’ll post some brief opinions on a selection of films I’ve watched whilst in Italy in order to help me with my studies, based on their Revision Utility and Enjoyment Quota. I can only hope that it’ll help some soul in need.
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Revision Utility: It seems to me to be a slight betrayal of the concept if you boast about and appear to be based on a true story when you change nearly every fact. Useful for the sense of the history, but not the details.
Enjoyment Quota: Absolutely gripping with fantastic protagonists and a setting heavy with southern atmosphere. It won’t bore you.
The End of the Affair (1999)
Revision Utility: An almost completely faithful retelling of the Graham Greene novel, right until the final third when things start to fall apart. The character of Smythe is simplified and mysteriously lacking in vital facial scarring. The unpleasant protagonist Bendrix recieves a more subtle cinematic airbrushing. Considering how closely the novel follows the book up until that point, the end section could be dangerous for those who haven’t got their book-facts straight. Still, a useful watch.
Enjoyment Quota: Atmospheric and well-acted, with a melodramatic soundtrack that’s rather memorable but only because it keeps repeating itself whenever something significant happens. Recommended but with a caution.
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Revision Utility: Gives a lot of concessions in the interest of running time but still tells the same classic story. In a venture to improve the book some characters receive personality traits that they didn’t originally have. Admirable attempt to translate Austen’s heavily ironic tone to film. Recommended as a quick alternative to multiple-part TV adaptations designed to dry paint.
Enjoyment Quota: No love of Austen is required to enjoy this adaptation which is funny without destroying everything that made the book distinct. Highly recommended.
Revision Utility: Trades the novel’s postmodern patchwork of letters and poems bookending two twinned unconventional romances for a regular, terrible film. Follows the book’s plot vaguely but filled with too many cinematic changes to be useful.
Enjoyment Quota: Too bad to be good, too awkward to be funny. It makes me end this blog post in disgust.