As I Lay Dying
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The movie tries a little too hard, over-utilizing split screen shots to convey the novel's multiple narrator roles. It made me feel like I was watching an olde-tymey version of 24. The extreme close-up monologues were intense and haunting, staying true to the Faulkner's voice, if not adding clarity to the storyline. The film is beautifully shot and well-acted, but felt as much like homework as my initial high school reading of this book (I enjoyed the re-read much more when I was all growsed up).
Overall, "As I Lay Dying" is a solid (if slightly off-the-mark) homage to a great literary work.
First of all, this was so much better than I expected. On paper, some of the casting decisions look atrocious, but no one turns in a bad performance. Franco, as Darl, is (unsurprisingly) unable to explore Darl's mind the way Faulkner did in the original novel, and much of the "who" and the "why" of the character is left for the viewer to interpret. Of course, the novel itself relied heavily on the interpretation of the reader, so I'm not going to be too hard on Franco for that. As for the actors that looked terrible on paper...well, for me, they were Danny McBride as Vernon Tull and Logan Marshall-Green as Jewel. The latter, I have to say, BLEW ME AWAY. I can honestly say he stole the show for me. In the novel, my favorite character was always Darl, but Marshall-Green's performance had me focusing more on Jewel throughout the course of the film. Interestingly, Franco frames Jewel like a saint in some of the film's more beautiful camerawork, leading me to wonder whether the director saw Jewel as more of a protagonist than I did. Now, to McBride. What, you say? Danny McBride in a role like this? Favoritism on Franco's part, perhaps? These were the things I thought before seeing the film. Fortunately, it doesn't matter either way, because Vernon Tull's character is significantly downplayed in the film, and his wife Cora is cut out almost entirely. Still, McBride doesn't do anything he shouldn't, and while I still can't say I understand the casting, there isn't really enough for his character to do for me to judge his performance.
Also, Tim Blake Nelson. If you only see this film for one reason, let it be Tim Blake Nelson.Read more ›
franco delivers the worst acting performance of the cast, but it certainly isn't a bad performance and the rest of the cast are excellent in their roles. the film uses some art house devices to capture the unique nature of the novel, which may be off-putting to some, but franco's directorial methods are not overly heavy-handed or obtuse.
truthfully, if you have not read as i lay dying (or have an interest in southern gothic/lit fiction) than this film is probably not for you. if you are "in" to this kind of literature and are intrigued by an art house interpretation of one of the greatest english language novels, then it is definitely worth the price of the rental.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
whoever decided to do this movie in split screen...should be fired and never allowed in the film industry again. Stupidest thing I have ever had the displeasure to watch. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dana C. Freeland
This classic novel was long thought to be an impossible challenge for film makers, but James Franco did a credible job on it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A most amazingly faithful adaptation of one of William Faulkenr's most complex inner-voiced novels. I give it three stars only on account of if one hasn't read the novel, one may... Read morePublished 4 months ago by E. L. Zorko
Wow! Franco is a truly gifted actor/director. He brings out the best in everyone. The entire cast is outstanding.Published 8 months ago by Brenda
I enjoyed it Of course, it is Faulkner, so it makes you think. I though anise and some of the other characters were great. It is hard to put a Faulkner novel into a movie. Read morePublished 9 months ago by atlantic telecom
Wow!! dont no exactly what to say...but i'll try...this movie is very wierd...for along time I couldnt understand anything in this movie.....it is very stupid.. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Teddy Towe