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Joseph K. (Kyle MacLachlan) awakens one morning, to find two strange men in his room, telling him he has been arrested. Joseph is not told, with what he is charged, and despite being "arrested", is allowed to remain free and go to work. But, despite the strange nature of his arrest, Joseph soon learns that his trial, however odd, is very real, and tries desperately to spare himself from the court's judgement.Written by
Mike Myers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A faithful translation to the screen: fails to give new perspectives to the work though.
When a novel is to be translated to the silver screen, the director will immediately face a dilemma. How will he approach the translation? Will he try to be as faithful to the original piece of work as possible, avoid to give his own interpretation of the novel, not risking the wrath of devoted readers?
Or will he try to see to what he believes to be the true spirit of the work, and express it in a new way? After all, books and films are different medias and thinking of how much is lost without the author's special language and distinct style - for an example -, shouldn't a director try to make up for that loss by adding something unique for film?
I would go for the latter. Otherwise your filmversion of an essential piece of literary work will be just that: a version of an essential book, not an essential film in itself.
Of course this can cause a lot of controversy, and there's no doubt that some directors have managed to completely ruin an excellent book when trying to make 'their own' version of it. BUT, look for an example at 'A Clockwork Orange'. Burgess intricate play with language and manipulation of the reader - slowly taking him into Alex's world and way of thinking - simply will not be translated into film. So instead Kubrick used the unique opportunities of film and managed to combine the use of audio and vision to stunning effects. Kubrick managed to make something own out of it, no question about it.
And that's what I feel is missing in 'The Trial'. Yes, it is a perfectly well-done job. I couldn't think of a more suitable actor for Josef K than Kyle 'Agent Dale Cooper' MacLachlan: that's EXACTLY the way I envisioned him when reading the novel! Also the settings in Prague provides the movie with beautiful and suitable backgrounds. Though some scenes, for lengths sake, has been cut short it also stays true to the events in the novel and manages to catch some of the atmosphere in the novel.
The movie is carried through very competent, the actors are talented and there's a a nice 'Godfather'-esque grainish color on top of it all. No, this isn't a bad movie. On the contrary!
But why shouldn't I rather read on the novel myself? Because what is really comes down to is this: if a translation from one media to another is to be successful, it can never be just a translation. It has to stand on it's own legs.
And that's where this film fails. We aren't offered any new perspectives or different ideas on Josef K and his torments. Quite simply, it's an enjoyable watch but probably holds appeal mostly to those who don't have the time or interest to read the novel instead.
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