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,
The original book upon which the movie is based is told from the perspective of 15 different characters over 59 chapters. Split screens are used throughout much of the movie and this is designed to reflect the different perspectives of the characters. See more »
Different actors play Lafe and McCallum. As Cleanth Brooks pointed out shortly after the novel was written, these two are the same person: Lafe McCallum. See more »
My father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead for a long time.
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As I Lay Dying an be seen as an ensemble piece within one larger film as a whole. The weakest link in the ensemble, disappointingly, is Franco himself, who retains a smirky remove even during Darl Bundren's most emotionally bare scenes -- though he does at least give himself the best close-ups. You might say that remove characterizes Franco's direction, too: sporadically clever as his treatment is, he never seems all that invested in the novel except as a particularly challenging exercise for his ongoing artistic self-invention. Challenge passed, then. But the task of creating a film even obliquely equal to the rageful literary brazenness of Faulkner remains a hopeless task that Franco, with nothing to lose. Overall, the film differs on another level of severe boredom.
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