Can two young boys overcome the worst the devil himself can deal out? Wishes are granted, but twisted as only the esteemed Mr. Dark can make them. Based on the Ray Bradbury novel. Written by
Mayla Kalrist <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mature and intriguing thriller for adults and kids alike
This film is well made in all regards; the cast is top-notch, the cinematography and direction drive the tone of the movie, the effects inventive and wonderful (even by late-90's standards) and best of all, the storyline superb.
That said, this is arguably the best film made from any of Ray Bradbury's works. I first read the book years ago as a 13-year-old and remember the images the tale concocted, and the questions about myself that the storyline propose ring as true today from the film as they did then from the page.
Owing much to the casting of the film, the director marvelously weaves the story around the principal leads by allowing a score of tertiary characters to guide the plot's tone, mood and motion. Each person, whether major or minor, is an intriguing part of the tale with their own tale to tell. With great efficiency we understand what drives each of the townspeople, and grow more curious and suspicious as to the background of the carnival folk.
Sympathy -- or contempt -- for each of the characters is developed throughout, and best the film's two supporting actors, Jason Robards and Jonathan Pryce. While neither is exactly cast against type here, both provide a driving stability for the film. The two boys that serve as the film's protagonists do an admirable job in portraying both the fear and delight that is part of youth, and inherent to coming of age.
This movie is a fine example of how an effective thriller can be made without resorting to language, blood, sex, or violence. While I am not all opposed to films that use any or all of those conventions, it is a refreshing change from what is otherwise the norm.
One of the greatest benefits is that the resulting film is one that you can watch with your children, a film that will provide them a healthy scare and stimulate their mind as well. As the film does contain some dark and frightening imagery, it could certainly serve as a source of nightmares for younger children.
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