Title – The Sound and the Fury (2014)
Director – James Franco (Child of God)
Cast – James Franco, Scott Haze, Joey King, Jacob Loeb, Tim Blake Nelson, Seth Rogen, Ahna O’Reilly, Danny McBride
Plot – A look at the depressive lives of the Compson siblings, Benjy (Franco), Quentin (Loeb), Caddy (O’Reilly) and Jason (Haze) in the early part of the 20th century.
“A man is the sum of his misfortunes. One day you’d think misfortune would get tired but then time is your misfortune”
Review by Eddie on 6/09/2016
You could say many things about James Franco and most of them are probably right in their own ways, but one thing I will say about the actor, writer, director, author and whatever other hat he sometimes dons is that the man is certainly determined. Seemingly never taking a break from his many on the boil productions, Franco has once more enlisted the help of his Hollywood friends in his directional adaption of yet another famed novel (following on from As I Lay Dying and Child of God) in the form of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury.
With this never far from depressive dramatic telling of the trials and tumults of The Compson family in the south of America in the 1920’s, you can see as a positive that Franco is improving as a director. Where his work on Child of God and As I Lay Dying often felt like a slightly better budgeted college movie, The Sound and the Fury does seem more cinematic but no amount of cinematic gloss can help cover the fact that Franco’s many varied flaws as both a performer and storyteller are on show worse than ever here with The Sound and the Fury, that acts as a borderline incomprehensible adaptation of Faulkner’s no doubt tricky material.
Segregated into three distinct chapters each dedicated to a separate Compson sibling, Franco’s opening half hour stanza that focuses almost exclusively on his own portrayal of mentally challenged Benjy is some of the most nigh on unwatchable filmmaking you’re likely to see, with a combination of Franco’s grunting, bottom biting and dribble fuelled acting (which pays little to no attention to Robert Downey Jr’s sound advice to Ben Stiller in Tropic Thunder) and shoddily put together flash forwards and flashbacks mixed in with unnecessary narration, killing the film before it ever even really began. The film does pick up slightly as the focus turns to Benjy’s other flawed siblings but never once does Franco and his team win us over to care or be invested in what plights these no hopers are going through.
It’s hard to know whether Franco is intentionally churning out so-so, or with the case of this film dire adaptations for the sake of it, to have a laugh at the audiences expense or he to in his own mind show his a real ‘filmmaker” but watching The Sound and the Fury makes one question how much longer he can get away with it for and if I were to offer up any advice to the busy auteur, it would be to please go back to cameoing in Seth Rogen stoner comedies as it’s a whole lot more tolerable and a lot less embarrassing for all concerned.
1 set of false chompers out of 5