Sunday, June 13, 2010

Of Mice and Men. A-

Gary Sinise made Of Mice and Men as sort of a passion project. It was always one of his favorite books, and his devotion to it is present in the film. I too love Of Mice and Men (and Steinbeck in general-I'm currently making my way through The Grapes of Wrath) and I thought the adaptation was about as good as it could have been. The story will always work better on the page, but one has to credit Sinise for sticking with the book instead of taking his own creative path with it. Sinise directs and also stars as George, who, along with his friend Lennie (John Malkovich) goes to work on a farm where trouble quickly ensues. I've thought a lot about why George sticks with Lennie, who has the mental capacity of a seven year old, but the strength of several men put together. I've come to the conclusion that George knows Lennie wouldn't survive if he were abandoned, and he would not be able to live with the guilt of letting a helpless being go. This the essential adaptation of Of Mice and Men. There was one made in 1939, but it stands in the shadow of this one. And since it came out in 1992, I don't think another one has been made. It would be pretty pointless to try again. This version is too well-made, too cherished, and too popular. There's no way it could be improved upon.

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