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Eve Hedderwick Turner,
Man Booker Prize-winning novels are too hard to adapt, and except for a few hits like Schindler's List (1993) and Life of Pi (2012), all adaptations are either dull or totally a mess. This tragic drama is one such non-electrifying film.
Max Morden (Ciarán Hinds) is an aged art historian who has come back to the seaside place where he used to spend his vacations as a child. He is currently grieving the loss of a loved one and is also hoping to find peace from a childhood incident which made him the way he is now. The story follows Morden's life as flashbacks of his time with his newfound friends, a twin siblings, flip flop between the episodes of present tense.
Hinds is the only aspect of the film which is appealing. The supporting characters are too abrupt in their approach, making the film look like it was conceived for people who have already read the book. Even for those who have, the lackluster, non-linear screenplay will induce ennui, just enough to put them to sleep if they are not startled by the sudden, repetitive crescendos towards the end. Banville clearly fails as a scriptwriter, trying to correct some of his novel's mistakes by adding extra salt to the already salty water. Brown's direction is also at fault, as the cast often look puzzled in their own characters' skins. The young actor who plays a young Morden is terrible.
The Sea is an average book exploring loss and grief and how a man tries and miserably fails to fix up his life post the events. The film is a lot less convincing, mostly because the sliding sequences just do not bring about any point that the author might have originally tried to convey. Read the book and move on to Kiran Desai's "The Inheritance of Loss".
BOTTOM LINE: Stephen Brown's "The Sea" is a lowbrow adaptation of a lowbrow fiction which can be best understood by reading its original source. Wait for TV premiere.
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO
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