Title – Fahrenheit 451 (2018)
Director – Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes)
Cast – Michael B. Jordan, Michael Shannon, Sofia Boutella
Plot – In an alternative landscape where books, music and film’s have all been banned and free-thought discouraged, young fireman Guy Montag (Jordan) begins to question if his role in hunting down and burning old literature is what he wants to do, despite his relationship with his determined boss Captain Beatty (Shannon).
“Why do I always make you nervous?”
Review by Eddie on 14/02/2019
With a cast that’s led by two of the industry’s most consistent performers in the forms of Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon, a narrative that’s based upon Ray Bradbury’s famous novel and a distribution through HBO, there was good reason to be excited for Fahrenheit 451.
Sadly this largely lifeless and streamlined version of Bradbury’s tale, that was financed through Canadian TV channel’s, is a mostly forgettable and charisma free affair that through a brisk 100 minutes, fails to capture the heart, minds or imagination to make this effort worth your time.
While polished in some regards, Ramin Bahrani’s film can’t hide its made for TV roots despite the ever present presence of Jordan and Shannon trying their best to bring their “graffiti” destroying crack team members Guy Montag and Captain Beatty to life, as Bahrani fails to ignite his picture with the soul that was needed to bring this cautionary examination of a big brother state into existence.
It’s a ripe, if nowadays more familiar set-up, even if Bradbury’s unique examination of a society that’s free from texts, movies and music does distinguish itself from the pack but despite brief little snippets of what it could be like in a scary future where creativity and thought is frowned upon, you never get to engage with Jordan’s Montag as he begins to question if his life of helping oppress mankind is indeed the right thing to do.
Its arguably one of Jordan’s biggest performance misfires yet, outside of the ill-advised Fantastic 4 film from 2015, as the usually strong performer feels miss-cast as the stoic yet deep-thinking Montag, only really coming to life when sparring off against Shannon who does a fine job in his portrayal of determined Unit head Beatty, even if it’s a shame that we yet again see Shannon plying his good yet overused cold-hearted villain role once more.
With no deep connection to Montag’s journey from book burning terminator to face of a rebellion and with Bahrani failing to inspire us with Montag’s plight against the system, Fahrenheit 451 quickly becomes a very basic and workmanlike version of Bradbury’s story, making it a feature that’s hard to recommend to either die-hard fans of the novel or those that know very little about Bradbury’s famed work.
Final Say –
After many years of various developments that have seen the likes of Frank Darabont, Tom Hanks and other key players come and go, it was great to finally see an updated version of Fahrenheit 451 reach our screens, unfortunately for all, this instantly forgettable version feels like a waste of time, potential and source material.
2 Blockbuster VHS tapes out of 5