8 films that are much better than the books
We’ve all heard it before: “The movie was okay, but the book was better.” The statement is a bit like a badge of honour for some devoted readers. But now and again it goes the other way round.
These are eight films that took the author’s original source material and captivated audiences with the moviemaker’s own unique take on things.
Based on the novel Drive by James Sallis.
The stylish thriller brought both restraint and bursts of passion to the cinema screen, as well as cementing Ryan Gosling’s place amongst Hollywood’s elite. The actor’s reserved getaway driver and stuntman falls for his neighbour Irene, played by Carey Mulligan, but things quickly spiral out of control as he is dragged into the underworld of Los Angeles. This has cult status written all over it.
Based on the novel Mystic River by Dennis Lehane.
The film achieved emotional resonance and depth that was lacking in the novel. It owes its success to the directorial hand of Clint Eastwood and the powerful performances from the cast, including a devastated Sean Penn who is the father seeking vengeance for the murder of his 19-year-old- daughter.
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Based on the novel No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy.
The distinctive style of Cormac McCarthy was given the big screen treatment by the Coen brothers, and the result is a darkly comedic and engaging film that won big at the Oscars. It involves a drug deal gone wrong and a hunter becoming the hunted when he takes the two million dollars left behind. Javier Bardem as the psychopathic hitman Chigurh is hauntingly brilliant.
Based on the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard.
Quentin Tarantino did it again when he took the source material of Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch and stamped his own style, flair and imaginative dialogue on things. Veteran Pam Grier is the flight attendant smuggling money for Samuel L. Jackson’s arms dealer, and as you would expect, things don’t go as planned. Robert De Niro and Bridget Fonda are along for the ride as things get out of hand.
Based on the novel Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.
The book and the film both pack a powerful punch, but David Fincher managed to take the dark and twisted source material and create a cult film that stands the test of time. Edward Norton is a victim of consumer society, Brad Pitt is the anarchist planning a revolution and Helena Bonham Carter is stuck somewhere in the middle. Remember, “The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.”
Based on the novel Forrest Gump by Winston Groom.
Tom Hanks is the loveable and simple soul whose personal experiences are wonderfully wrapped around historical events. Six Oscars and a line about a box of chocolates that lives long in the memory are just desserts for Robert Zemeckis’s drama-comedy.
THE GREEN MILE
Based on the novel The Green Mile by Stephen King.
Tom Hanks is the guard on death row with a moral dilemma when the convicted murderer and giant of a man John Coffey, played by the late Michael Clarke Duncan, arrives with a special gift. The film that was nominated for four Oscars is mystical, heart-warming and tear-jerking all at once.
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Based on the novel The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris.
Jodie Foster is the young FBI cadet Clarice Starling who turns to the imprisoned and scheming murderer Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins, to help her catch a serial killer. It’s a thrilling race against time that streamlines the novel to create a disturbing backdrop for its two excellent leads. Anyone care for some fava beans?