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05 Apr 2012 at 11:10 am #684
I agree with the earlier posters, amazing video. Intriguing to watch as I’ve spent a lot of time spelunking and paddling in this neighborhood.
I’m a little sad from a cinematography perspective to see them using small format digital cameras. The adaptation of a literary work of this importance seems to deserve 35mm cinematography or at least a full resolution digital cinematography acquisition format. Can only assume they don’t have a large budget for the film so especially admire his determination to “git er done”
18 Apr 2012 at 7:07 pm #911
I believe they are using the Canon 5Ds. If the DP knows how to shoot with them, it will look very good.
19 Apr 2012 at 5:09 pm #924
I am curious to know your opinion on the adaptation of Child of God and Blood Meridian. I will be honest, I am dreadfully depressed. No Country for Old Men was brilliant, but The Road was horrid. Maybe it was the cast or the Cohen brothers that made it so good; and the opposite for the Road. I hate the thought of Hollywood butchering his work sickens me. Child of God is brilliant, Blood Meridian is epic… They need to leave them alone. I cannot imagine making Blood Meridian without it either being terrible or a snuff film. That violence and his prose makes it so, that to do it justice, the film would need to be a real life massacre. I don’t mean lets do it that way, I am saying the book and prose creates violence in such a manner that only the imagination or viewing the real thing, would convey the true nature of the novel.
That is my little rant for the day.
dca91Quote03 Feb 2014 at 5:10 pm #5018
This unfortunate, horrible accident is somewhat reminscent of Ballard finding the dead young lovers on p. 86. Makes me wonder if McCarthy knew of such a couple in real life who met this fate, or knew of a close call in a similar circumstance, or possibly read of such an incident in the newspaper. He could have simply made it up of course:
Any word on when Franco’s movie is coming out?
GlassQuote04 May 2014 at 12:24 am #5332
Watched the film tonight. The review I wrote:
When word broke out that James Franco, wannabe wunderkind who has taken to adapting classic American literature to the big screen to, well, mixed results, would be adapting my favorite author’s work, I prickled with righteous indignation. I don’t care much for Franco and indeed find him to be a jack of all trades but indeed master of none: he is a subpar actor, his writing leaves a LOT to be desired, and his direction feels a little too over-reliant on flashy tics that add an unnecessary layer of pretension to the proceedings. And here he is, adapting the work of the master: Cormac McCarthy.
At first, Franco announced he would be tackling McCarthy’s masterpiece, the ultraviolent scalp-hunter saga Blood Meridian, but after a while, he decided to cut his teeth on a smaller — but by no means lesser — work of ol’ Cormac’s. And this is how he came to deliver Child of God onto the masses.
Despite its brevity, Child of God is by no means an accessible novel: it’s lean, mean and has a soul blacker than night. The novel is just like its protagonist, Lester Ballard, a loner who skulks about the Tennessee backwoods like a dog suffering the early onset of rabies, indulging in varying degrees of vicious activities, from assault to necrophilia to, eventually, murder. Ballard is not your typical protagonist, and yet the way Cormac McCarthy approached him, he was made both revolting and at the same time strangely empathetic, as he managed to submerge the reader into Ballard’s festering brain. “A child of God much like yourself” is how McCarthy’s opening lines describe Ballard, signifying that the madness and malice that ferments within the man is a seed to be found in any of us. And despite its grim premise, Child of God is astoundingly, gut-bustingly funny, like the worst sort of dead-baby joke.
Unfortunately, I feel that Franco has missed the levity, instead emphasizing the straight serial-killer premise. This isn’t to say that Franco doesn’t hew close to the novel; if anything, he is a little too faithful, even relying on having blocks of text from the novel playing out on the screen. It’s an admirable slice of avant-garde, even if I feel that Franco is forgetting the first rule of filmmaking: show, don’t tell. Even though McCarthy’s prose is magic, Franco should’ve known (as the Coen Brothers and John Hillcoat knew before him) that McCarthy’s words can be translated visually to bring the same harrowing, to-the-bone effect.
That said, Franco does show a great deal of passion for the material. But even beyond the use of McCarthy’s words, the most crucial aspect of an adaptation of Child of God is the man who will be playing Lester Ballard. And in this film, Ballard is played not by Franco, but by his buddy and frequent collaborator Scott Haze. Whether or not you approve of Haze’s performance, you can’t say he doesn’t go for broke in his portrayal of Ballard. Haze’s Ballard is beyond laconic; he speaks in strangled, guttural inarticulations that sound almost caveman-like. I do think that there are times that he lays it on a bit too thick, and I think his drooling, leering presence lacks any of the bizarre charm that made Ballard such a fascinatingly funny character in the book. Haze plays Ballard like a Deliverance refugee, and while it isn’t bad work on its own, I do feel that Haze is a bit too superficial in his take on one of McCarthy’s greatest creations. He makes up for it in intensity, though, gotta give him that.
It also doesn’t help that Franco’s film has a cheap aesthetic to it, lacking any of the grim gothic atmosphere of the book. It’s my biggest issue with Franco as a director: he has no real concept of effective mise-en-scene, instead opting to point the camera and let things play, cutting an odd times that feel far too arrhythmic to be deliberate. Much like last year’s interesting-but-too-shallow As I Lay Dying, Franco gets the story right but tells it in the most simple, A-to-B-to-C way possible. It’s worth the watch for Haze’s performance (and also for Tim Blake Nelson, who feels like he should’ve featured in any and every Cormac McCarthy film before this), but it only serves to prove that we’re lucky that we dodged a Blood Meridian adaptation by James Franco.
Stephen DavisQuote06 May 2014 at 2:13 pm #5335
After watching AILD it became very obvious that Franco misses the “levity” of the disjointed narration, which underscores the tragic elements of both novels, AILD and COG. The film edition of AILD was rather sophomoric, as if the narrative trajectory is what solely gives the story its relevance. It is too predictable that Franco will do the same with COG.
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