Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wise Blood

Just to say I finished Flannery O'Connor's first novel and masterpiece. It is notable how she keeps you close enough to her grotesque characters to think you're inside their heads, but actually just enough outside to surprise you. Then you think, yes, well, that does make sense. Dark, funny, and cold as Hell, with a small, warm heart beating somewhere within the ice.
For completeness I also watched John Huston's film adaptation again. I saw it years ago, and always remembered Brad Dourif playing Hazel Motes. This time around his relatively over-heated, one-note performance didn't impress me as much. Ironically he plays it as it is, and the film is generally very faithful to the book. Updating it to the Seventies didn't lose anything, but instead showed how relevant the whole nasty tale still is for America. However, the dreadful score by Alex North highlights the slightly off-key tone that the film makers adopted and that ultimately loses a lot of the book's power. The characters are not just the grotesques that the film portrays; they are warped, but real people, struggling for meaning, companionship and love. Ultimately the film works, but as soon often is the case, the novel works on a higher, finer plane.

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