Nineteen Eighty-Four

Director: Michael Radford
Year Released: 1984
Rating: 2.0

Half-decent adaptation of the great novel has sets and art direction to die for, but when it comes to the last fifty minutes, it's one long torture scene, not only for Winston Smith (John Hurt, doing his best) but for the audience, who has to endure hearing the novel's message recited by a weary (but effective) Richard Burton - the result is didactic rather than cinematic, thereby giving those who never read the book the gist of its message. As with most masterpieces of literature, I'd recommend sticking with the book alone (there is no substitute), although Radford's translation isn't as offensive as, say, the film version of The Great Gatsby or Hollywood's treatment of Hemingway's works. By the way, what happened to the 'real' ending?