In a futuristic, state-run society controlled by "Big Brother" in which love is outlawed, employee of the state Winston Smith falls for Julia, and is tortured and brainwashed for his crime. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
I finally was able to see this film, having seen the 1984 version with John Hurt when I was in college. I recall the 1984 version having some good production values, but I remember being disappointed also. This version was well-cast, and the art direction was also competent. Edmund O'Brien turned in a great performance as Winston Smith. I think that he brought a great quality of desperation to the role; which seemed to run contrary to John Hurt's performance. I'm sure there was a lot left out of the book. But I get tired of hearing people moan and groan about the argument of literature vs. cinema. Come on people, film is time-based, and can't digress like novels can. The screenwriter/director mainly extracts plot points, and can't be bothered with too much exposition (unless of course they have a whopping budget!). I've read many criticisms where more skeptical viewers complain that we don't get to know Big Brother's motives, strategy, etc... What?!! It's Big Brother - an enigmatic and probably non-existent despot....you're not supposed to know his whole story! The love affair, although brief, is very empathetic. In lieu of all the paranoia, Big Brother-cheerleading, etc.
the love between Winston and Julia is a good emotional oasis. Even
though I watched a poor copy of this version, it really did make an impression. One of the few criticisms I have is Room 101. I thought the rat shot/scene was truncated, and could've been dramatized more. That's where the John Hurt version trumps this one.
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