A dispossessed, violent man's life is a disastrous attempt to exist outside the social order. Successively deprived of parents and homes and with few other ties, Ballard descends to the level of a cave dweller as he falls deeper into crime and degradation.
Tim Blake Nelson
A talented and successful actor retires at a young age due to a perceived mental illness. Now living in a small town with his deranged sister and his best friend, we watch as their Maladies intertwine.
I was almost shocked when i heard that they would be making a movie out of my favorite book, and the fact that James Franco and Danny McBride would be in it did not leave me with a good feeling. I was blown away, however, at what a great adaptation it is.
In fact, i'm not sure i'd even call it an adaptation. It IS the book. I cant think of any other movie that was truer to the source material. Obviously the book is much more long winded, and is filled with long, and often puzzling monologues from all the main characters. It's more dream like, and ponderous. But i cant think of anything that the movie left out, or missed, or put it's particular "spin" on, it was all dead on.
That said, the book is a difficult read. The movie is equally difficult. You could read the entire book, and have little idea what it's about. Similarly, you could easily watch this entire movie and be completely puzzled by it. There's a lot of important plot points that gets covered, and you barely even have time to realize exactly what it is the characters are saying. Once again though, the book is the same. Questions like: why is Varadamin's mom a fish? Why is Jewel's mom a horse? Why doesn't Darl have a mom? These are sort of answered, just like in the book, but they also seem completely absurd to even ask. It's a story more about the people involved in it, and not so much about the events that take place, or even the truthfulness of anything or anyone.
I would imagine most viewers will struggle to even understand what it is that the characters are saying, as they all have thick southern accents, Anse being almost unintelligible. Adding to the confusing is the fact that most everything they say is highly complex, poetry like prose that doesn't particularly care if you're following closely or not, they're still going to say it. Once again, pretty much how the book is.
So it's a difficult to understand book, and it's a difficult to understand movie. I certainly loved it, but i suspect most viewers will hate it.
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