Saturday, 7 July 2012

Adapted Selves

It's been a long time since I read H G Wells' The Invisible Man but the 1984 BBC adaptation seems faithful to a fault. Obsessed with optics the antihero almost ruins himself in his pursuit of a technique to induce invisibility but his irascible nature drifts into murderous megalomania after he succeeds in his experiments. Though the characters and setting seem amusingly quaint by today's standards the menace and tremulous rage of Pip Donaghy's performance as Griffin provide the dark heart to this production. Originally shown as 6 25 min episodes I was happy to gulp the whole lot down in one go but be warned if you're unfamiliar with the original novel you'll probably be surprised by the decidedly modest, almost low key adventuring.

Herman Hesse's beautiful, lyrical novel Siddhartha got the big screen treatment back in 1972 and like Invisible Man it's a remarkably faithful version but inevitably fails to muster the same spiritual potency of the original. A young brahmin leaves his luxurious home to wander the forest with some rishis and during his spiritual journey encounters the traditional obstacles to the path of enlightenment. It's well acted and has a musing Indian score but somehow it feels a little rushed and the cinematography is surprisingly humdrum. A good film but with a little more care this could have been something special.

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