Film Review – Fahrenheit 451 (2018)

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

15 responses to “Film Review – Fahrenheit 451 (2018)

  1. Saw the trailer for this and decided to give it a miss right there and then – seems you’ve confirmed my suspicions, which given Jordan and Shannon’s involvement is a real shame.

    • You’re absolutely right mate. With these two involved I was keen to give it a go but it was very much a low-end TV movie. A real shame.
      E

  2. I watched this after reading the book and it diverged so much that it no longer bears any more than a passing resemblance to the book. It makes no sense and it just a shoddy reworking for the internet era. It combines too many things to replace all that it has taken out. Why just why?

    • It’s like the most haphazard adaptation of the source material isn’t it?
      I think with material like this your better off trying to go all the way or don’t try at all.
      I would’ve liked to have seen Darabont’s more high profile take on this.
      E

      • It is the weirdest adaptation and I was worrying about spoiling the ending as I hadn’t quite finished but I wasn’t in the end and I was able to explain the odd ending too. They couldn’t have done a worse job with this if they tried which they clearly didn’t.

  3. Wow, didn’t even know this existed! It’s a shame because Jordan and Shannon are both brilliant. I feel like I could count on one hand the number of successful book adaptations over the past decade.

    • Both great performers mate but even they can’t save this one.
      Look it is a TV movie so no where near the budget or polish as a Hollywood effort but still it was just a very average adaptation.
      E

  4. I remember getting excited over the cast, but somehow never got to watching it. Sounds like it may be better to re-read the novel instead!

  5. Saw this on cable and changed the channel halfway through. It should have been something special but felt very much like a made for TV special from the 90s.
    The original adaptation was pretty good but Equilibrium did a better job with its version.

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