Wise Blood

1979 American masterpiece

Rating: 12/20 (Mark: 10/20; Amy: 6/20)

Plot: Wounded veteran Hazel Motes returns to the deepest South, buys himself a suit and a preacher hat, and moves to the city to do some things he's never done before. He does them in a very intense way. He meets a bunch of mentally-challenged southerners, sleeps with a fat whore, buys a car that will get him anywhere, and decides to start the Church of Jesus without Jesus.

I really wanted to like this movie. I'm still a little surprised that I didn't like it very much since it's just the type of movie that I generally like. I did really like how this movie looked; there's a richness and texture that brings alive this almost otherworldly South. I don't remember much about the Flannery O'Connor novella, just that I really liked it, so I'm not sure exactly how true this cinematic version of the story is to the text. I do know that this was disjointed, thematically uneven and frustratingly clunky. It's heavily symbolic, but the symbolism is made really silly by what's either a bad script or terribly delivered lines. I'm leaning toward the latter. The cast--led by Brad Dourif who actually made me uncomfortable as the ultra-emotive protagonist but supported by Harry Dean Standon, Ned Beatty, and Dan Shor--do nothing to make their characters resemble actual people, giving really bizarre performances that actually busted my quirkmeter. Those sonsabitches ain't exactly cheap either! If I could be more convinced that this was a dark comedy or if I could put the pieces together and figure out what this is saying, I'd feel more inclined to like and recommend this.

3 comments:

winter rates said...

didn't read yr review cos I just brought Wise Blood home... 12? huh...

Being how I love Huston and Flann - O... hmmmm

Anonymous said...

let us know winter rates. maybe you can make more of than we could. i also REALLY wanted to like this. reading the novel now to see if i really do like o'conner.

winter rates said...

I love John Huston, Flannery and the actor (Bill Babbit from One Flew Over The Cuckoos nest/Grimer Wormtongue) but yeah I'd have to give this a 14, I didn't like how it shifted between the 70's and the 50's and I dunno, it didn't work