Friday, June 18, 2010

Wise Blood

Not too long ago, I read Flannery O'Conner's Wise Blood.  (See my review here.)  I did not like the book, but glutton that I am, I decided to pick up the movie.  So, first strike: a movie based on a book I really didn't like. Second strike: it's part of the Criterion Collection, a series of films noted for being supposedly important or artful.  However, many of the films in that collection are frankly intolerable and unwatchable, for all their technical or artistic merits.
One good thing to be said for the movie is that is does capture the tone and spirit of the book, and is quite faithful to the plot.  Normally that would be a reason for praise.  In this case, not really.  I'm racking my brain trying to think of good things to say about Wise Blood.  Any commentary or criticism of Evangelicalism falls flat with the absurdity of the characters and situations.  We see no possibility of redemption in Hazel's internal struggles with his faith, and certainly the "blind" preacher and his daughter have nothing to offer. 

I know some of O'Conner's fans were happy to see Wise Blood on film, and again when Criterion put it on DVD.  Maybe I'm too shallow, too dumb, not reflective and thoughtful enough, or have bad taste, but this movie didn't do anything for me.

Bottom line, 1 1/2 stars.

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