Saturday 2 March 2024

Movie Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

Genre: Dystopian Drama  
Director: Michael Radford  
Starring: John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton  
Running Time: 110 minutes  

Synopsis: In a grim alternative year 1984, Winston Smith (John Hurt) is a Ministry of Truth bureaucrat in the country of Oceania. Under the omnipresent gaze of Big Brother, The Party controls all aspects of society, including history and language. Winston cannot help having forbidden independent thoughts, driven by a turbulent childhood, and he wonders if the unwashed proletariat can initiate an uprising inspired by anti-establishment leader Goldstein. With Oceania in a constant state of war, Winston starts a dangerous affair with fellow Outer Party member Julia (Suzanna Hamilton), and is then approached by Inner Party member O'Brien (Richard Burton).

What Works Well: George Orwell's terrifying vision of communism and fascism combining into the worst case of totalitarianism comes to the screen with dour characters, grim aesthetics, and a morose mood. Admirably, director Michael Radford condenses the book's essence into less than two hours, and cinematographer Roger Deakins creates a visual nightmare where the human spirit is encased in the washed-out grey tones of surrender. A tortured John Hurt conveys Winston Smith as an uncomfortable misfit, testing limits through love, writing, and thinking, but never in doubt about the outcome. Gravitas arrives in the final act with Richard Burton revealing the full dimensions of The Party's control.

What Does Not Work As Well: The downcast disposition becomes overbearing, and for those unfamiliar with the book, the movie may be impenetrable.

Conclusion: 2+2=5

All Ace Black Movie Blog Reviews are here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome reader comments about this post.