Fahrenheit 451

  • 02 Jun - 08 Jun, 2018
  • Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
  • Reviews

For those who may not have heard of either acclaimed science fiction author Ray Bradbury or his greatest work Fahrenheit 451, the story (especially in this movie) goes like this: in the not-so-distant, imaginable future, “firemen” – a special section of the law – burn down any and all pieces of literature.

The future, it seems, is united in its anti-racialism and books reflected a part of mankind’s dark history, and gave them freedom to think about their future. It is, as you may have already realised, a ploy by the reigning government to control education.

As the movie moves forward you realise two things: the novel, its novelty, and Bradbury’s hindsight into our present, had exerted too much weight on the movie. The result: this ninety-minute adaptation drags.

Although we mostly see the narrative through its two central characters – Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan) and his superior Captain Beatty (Michael Shannon) – we never connect to either of them. Their backstories are simple enough, and both actors are fine (Shannon chews up the screen in a few good scenes), but given the scarcity of the overall plot, a lack of real action and limited production quality, nothing really gels together.

Bradbury’s material, coupled with George Orwell’s 1984, action-stylings of The Matrix – and to an extent, the production design of George Lucas’s THX 1138 – were mangled into a chimera titled Equilibrium in 2002 starring Christian Bale. In essence a hack of other people’s intelligence, Equilibrium, at least, moved like a pumped-up science fiction actioner, with at least some semblance of gravity.

Fahrenheit 451 remains ambiguous, explains too little about the world its people inhabit, and yet tries to add elements that might seem familiar and relevant.

Another principal problem with the movie is its lack of tone (it is mostly a drama), and the unengaging, pedestrian cinematography. Frame sizes and compositions, especially in projects aimed for the internet audience, are more amateur today, than they were ten years ago.

I don’t know whether to blame the directors or cinematographers for this. Maybe I’ll blame everyone, including the writer.