Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Big Brother is Watching

Nineteen Eighty-Four

“Under the spreading chestnut tree / I sold you / You sold me.”

Having read the book, I knew that I couldn’t expect anything remotely happy coming out of the movie version of Orwell’s dystopian vision – and I was right. Don’t rent this movie if you aren’t prepared to step a bit out of your comfort zone. It’s a disquieting movie, and throws a lot at you take in about some weighty topics.

A quick synopsis for those who haven’t read the book: Nineteen Eighty-Four follows Winston Smith, an employee of Minitru (Ministry of truth), a department of Ingsoc (the government – English Socialism), through his gradual realization of the injustice of the loss of personal freedoms that accompany the severely totalitarian dictatorship of Big Brother. He and supporting character Julia, as individuals against the might of an entity, cannot hope to prevail, and their forbidden love is doomed before it is even conceived.

The environment depicted in the movie is even more decrepit and depressing than I had imagined upon reading the book. The scowling image of Big Brother’s face is in almost every scene, everything is filthy, and the colors are almost always muted. Few exceptions come, in the form of hope given to Winston, which only exist to be cruelly taken away at later points. It is almost painfully sad how the depressingly grey mood of the beginning of the movie is substantially lifted by the introduction of Julia and her first note given to Winston, reading only “I Love You.” It is needed to keep the audience from despairing, but it also serves to highlight how bad things really are; that such a small token can have such an impact.

O'Brien: If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.

The 1984 ad (not the trailer):

Doubleplusgood wallpaper, if you’re interested:


Vladigogo said...

The Coen Bros. ripped this movie off in a commercial they did for the Super Bowl a number of years ago. The ad has only been seen once. During the game.

Marcela said...

I've actually seen that ad; someone put it online a while ago: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-715862862672743260&q=1984