26/06/2013

Of Mice and Men (1992)

Film: Of Mice and Men
Release: 1992, theatrical
Starring: John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, Moira Sinise
Directed by: Gary Sinise
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: During the depression, the drifters George and Lennie try to find jobs at the various farms to chase the impossible dream they share.

Hans' thoughts:

The Great Depression is a very popular time period to make movies about. Unfortunately, these stories mostly take place in places like Chicago - completely forgetting that the farms around the country were actually hit the hardest. 

This movie is based on one of the most classic novels, arguably the most well-known, about this era, and it just so happens to be about farms - how about that? 

Even people not all that familiar with this story know some elements from it. For instance, Looney Tunes' Sylvester the Cat had his own gentle giant sidekick that called him "George". This is of course in reference to the popular line "T-t-tell me about the rabbits, George!" uttered several times by one of the story's main protagonists, Lennie Small, who is played by John Malkovich in this adaptation.

Now, this is a very dark story. Lennie and George are down-on-their-luck farmhands who can't hold down a job, partially because of Lennie's affliction. Said outright, Lennie Small is mentally disabled, giving him the mind of a child, but physically he's a big, strong man. As you can probably imagine, because of this the story brings with it the danger of making Lennie into a comical character, completely destroying the tragedy behind him (Indeed, a Danish comedian named Dirch Passer tried his hand on doing this character in a stageplay adaptation with serious intentions, but could not be taken seriously by the audience, and ultimately being laughed off the stage). However, I feel that John Malkovich plays the character very respectfully and indeed the movie handles him incredibly well.
Both leads did a great job bringing these characters to life

George is played by actor/director Gary Sinise. Sinise is an actor I respect a whole lot, I've not seen him in something where I didn't like his work. Unfortunately, Sinise is one of those actors who gets typecast a great deal. This movie is no different; if you've seen Forrest Gump or CSI: New York, you know exactly how he plays the character. In this movie his style fits right in with the character of George Milton, a quick-witted and sarcastic, but kind-hearted man. 

As for the other actors, I'd like to highlight John Terry as Slim, he does a very good job both when he's being kind, and when he's being absolutely furious. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but the actor's performance just stood out to me.

Let it be known, though, that it is a very long time since I last read the actual novel. I cannot judge how well this adaptation keeps to its source material. Judged on its own merits however, this had a very compelling story once I got into it.

Of Mice and Men is a timeless tale of hope and loss. This movie pays a lot of respect to it and it seems that both cast and crew had a love for the source material. If you have any historical interest, even slightly, this movie is for you. If you like drama, this movie is for you. If you have the ability to sit down and enjoy a quiet tale, watch this movie.
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