The plot of the film is set after the second civil war in America, when the government decides to remove all physical media, primarily books. In that way, citizens are not aware that there are two views on the same problem, they do not have the options of free thought, critical thinking and asking questions, and debate is an unknown concept, which indirectly leads to their happiness and avoidance of new potential conflicts. In that world, we meet the protagonist Guy Montag, a firefighter whose means of work is fire, which removes everything undesirable from society. Under the command of Captain John Beatty, their unit expels eels (people hiding books) and burns graffiti (any kind of physical medium). After meeting Cleris (Sofia Boutella), a girl who is marked as an eel, Monteg begins to reconsider his beliefs and starts a personal rebellion against society…
After watching the film for a few minutes, we realize that this is a kind of update to Ray Bradbury’s book, not its screen adaptation, which is an automatic (totally understandable) minus for hardliners – these people set their expectations differently and are probably disappointed that those expectations so missed. Of course, the book and the film as media are two totally different concepts, but I am of the opinion that the adaptation should change the details of the book, and not its entire concept as in this case. For example, with the absence of Montag’s wife, a lot was lost on his characterization, but also on showing how people in such a society think. We simply do not have an insight into what the world looks like without critical thinking outside of firefighters and eels, which is the essence of the book.
Fahreinheit 451 has several good sides. Certainly the biggest plus of the film is the main tandem of actors, who practically carry the entire film on their backs. Jordan and Shannon are convincing in presenting a complicated relationship between two people that changes as the story progresses – from a mentor-student relationship to an authority-rebel situation. In this adaptation, Montag is not married, so it was not expected that the relationship with Biti would maintain a friendly character until the very end, otherwise it would be a real disaster. Also, certainly worth mentioning is the cinematography, which is expected when the project is produced by HBO. Each frame is visually refined, and the combination of fire and night is especially impressive.
In essence, the fact is that the book needed an update screening, since it was released in 1953, but that update was not performed very well, I would even say that it is clever. Apart from the absence of Ray Bradbury’s ideas, there are no real elaborations of the characters and the story itself, and the ending that seems to have been generated by a high school student supports that claim. In just an hour and a half, we need to connect the world that is presented to us, to understand social relations, to swallow Montag’s sudden turn of 180 degrees and to digest the above-mentioned ending. The fact is that everything would work better as a two-hour movie or maybe even as a mini-series, while this way everything is fast-paced and a bit confusing.
Fahreinheit 451 has the problem that changes have been made to the book to fit modern narrative styles, but these changes have led it to move away from the concept and true essence of Bradbury’s work – in an attempt to be relevant, somewhere along the way. lost meaning.