I know this is one of those subjects that gets endlessly discussed, as you always have your own images in your head when reading a book. However, I have recently come across an example in which the film totally fails to capture the essence of the book.
The book in question is one I read a little way back, “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro, who is a writer I enjoy reading. I liked the book as it had an interesting central premise that was slowly revealed, tying together the puzzling oddities in the main characters attitudes and behaviors. And then this weekend I had the misfortune to watch the film version. Even allowing for the “never as good as the book” syndrome, I found it appalling. It totally failed to develop one of the main characters, creating a totally misleading impression of the dynamics between the principal characters. As a result, the film ended up as being a rather odd romance, rather than a study of people struggling to understand emotion and humanity. What I found amazing is that in the credits, the author was listed as an executive producer. How he could bear to see his work so undervalued surprises me.
What made me write this post was that one of the author’s earlier works, “The Remains of The Day” was also made into a film in 1993, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. In contrast, this perfectly captured the atmosphere and characters in the book, yet still resulted in an Oscar nominated film.
I guess what I am saying is, no matter how good the original book or author, if it is badly directed or screenwritten (is that a word?), it ends up being a dog’s dinner of a film.