Michael Radford’s - Sample Essay

In this essay I would like to review the novel-made film ”Nineteen Eighty-Four’ as an extent of the Dystopia fiction and outline some of the futures use by authors, which are typical for this genre. Nineteen Eighty-Four is Michael Radford’s film based upon the novel of the same name by George Orwell. The novel treats about a bleak vision of a dystopian future where one’s thoughts and action were controlled by totalitarian government. According to Wikipedia On-line Dictionary ‘A dystopia is any society considered to be undesirable, for any of a number of reasons.

The term is most usually used to refer to a fictional (often near-future) society where current social trends are taken to nightmarish extremes. [… ] Dystopias are frequently written as warnings, or as satires, showing current trends extrapolated to a nightmarish conclusion. [… ] A dystopia is all too closely connected to current-day society. ‘1 Dystopian genre includes films such as The Matrix, Brazil, Judge Dredd, Runner Blade and Mad Max. Genre means nothing different than a kind or style.

‘In all art forms, genres are vague categories with no fixed boundaries. Genres are formed by sets of conventions, and many works cross into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions. The scope of the word “genre” is usually confined to art and culture. ‘2 Michael Radford’s film is one of the best pictures of Dystopian fiction, filmed not only during the same year and location imagined by the author of the novel, but some scenes where shot exactly on the dates from main’s character diary.

Main characters live in the world, which is in a constant state of war between three super powers. Society of Oceania, is controlled through the Inner Party led by the Big Brother, a image on the ‘telescreen’ which observes every move of the citizens. John Hurt made a great depressing creation of a main character. Winston Smith endures his hopeless lifestyle until he sees a light at the end of ‘dark and dreary tunnel’. In his day to day life he works in The Ministry of True rewriting history in accordance to the needs of the governing Party.

He keeps a secret diary, where he is writing his thoughts about the Party and about his existence. His life is turning over when he encounters Julia portrayal by Suzanna Hamilton, a strange free sprit woman. While the Party is working how to outlaw the concept of the family to guarantee the citizens total devotions to the Party, they fall in love and begin an illegal love relationship. It is just a matter a time when their passionate love is condemned for a defeat. The spectator knows they will be caught, and eventually they are.

Winston is taken to the Ministry of Love, where he is tortured and brainwashed by O’Brian (Richard Burton), a high-ranking member of the Inner Party. Subjected to unbearable tortures Winston’s resistance finally breaks down ‘and he repudiates his allegiances to Julia’3. To create the right atmosphere filmmakers used typical for Dystopian fiction audio-visual code. From the very beginning of the film the scenery works wonderfully with a beautiful set design. It is bleak, dreary and so oppressive. You can almost smell the nasty cold air!

Cinematographer Roger Deakins shoots most of the film in gritty, washed-out colours, to show us citizens desperate for the simplest of pleasures, which lives in world of grim humanity. The London settings – with their ruined streets, scruffy buildings devastate fields and forbidding, blackened facades. Most of the film is in greys and browns, with only the green fields in Winston’s dreams and memories and his tryst with Julia standing out. This high contrast photography, alternately harsh and low key lighting and iconic close-ups shots establish the feeling everyone must have when living in such a world.

Composer Dominic Muldowney created unusual “origin music” pieces for the dystopic world. Somehow the score compromised cruel cold feelings of an oppressive society, and a warm forbidding romance. As wrote one of the viewers ‘several of the tracts include bombastic and occasionally shrill brass performances of the opening anthem (… ). The Russian choral works are enjoyable (… ). The female vocals are also a highlight, with grand, operatic performances at least twice in full. ‘4 First scene of the film shows us uniformity of appearance and behaviour of citizens.