Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949)

L: 8.4/10

M: 8/10

Analysis from someone who just wants to stand alone:

I first read this book in high school, when reading was the worst kind of homework, and my future consisted of just getting home to eat Ramen and take a nap. I passed through those years with a heavy glaze, just trying to get out. This is a really good story. I have to admit that the majority of the importance is just as lost in me now as it was all those years ago.

The weight of importance contained in the three acts in 1984 is just as heavy as they’ve ever been, probably more now than ever before. The entire time spent reading a book like this is pure awe of how strange a book written in the late forties can resemble the current landscape.

The first act finds the protagonist, Winston, a man apart from his country. Not blindly following Big Brothers lead, Winston has individual thoughts that single him out as an enemy of the state. In this opening segment, a vivid picture of a grimy chrome dystopian future is crafted out. It beats the reader down to the level in which Winston carries out his sad existence.

Hope is found in the second act, where a like-minded detractor is found. The latter parts of this section are so dense with detail that the glazed-over feeling of my youth started to creep back. All these facts thrown at the reader are vaporized in the closing act, as all hope is snapped shut and violently beaten out of Winston.

I’m sure there is some significance lost in my comprehension of this book, but I can confidently say I appreciate it a lot more now then I did in high school English class.

Analysis from the 77th trombone in the big parade; always a follower:

I feel pretentiously proud for having absorbed this book, and I truly did absorb every word. My mind is blown by how a man from the past created a world that seems to be falling into place around us currently. If I dwell too long on the oddness of it, I become full of conspiracy theories and random tie ins that could or could not exist. This is is a slippery slope for me, and as I am currently not high, I’ll choose to not fall down that rabbit hole.

The book is well written, and there is a grey vibe about it that settles you into having a connection with Winston while not truly feeling invested in him. I never felt the desire to change his course or save him. I truly just wanted to watch the madness unfold. My curiosity in the insanity of this world and the sadness of it outweighs my empathy for those living in the middle of it. I’m not sure another author has been able to bring that about in me. I think I might be impressed by that though perhaps it just speaks to my lack of character.

There are parts of this book that read like a textbook or an encyclopedia on the atmosphere and environment surrounding this world, and I usually would hate this style of writing, but it was fitting for the book. I can’t say that I had any real disappointments in 1984. The ending was fitting for the flow of the book, which is refreshing. I also felt satisfied in knowing that while it was all tied up in a structured package, the ending wasn’t particularly happy or sad. The end was just as complicating and simplistic as the world surrounding Winston, and that is the best the reader could really hope for.

George Orwell

Addendum I:

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)


L: 5/10

M: 3/10

Analysis from L:

We may have messed up in watching this before Equilibrium. While very true to the source material, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a little dry. Depression is the broad brush this movie is painted with. The landscape in this movie was vastly bleaker then what was playing in my head while reading the novel.

One thing I thought was lacking was Winston’s inner monologue. The book answers some unexplained sequences of the movie, such as the majority of the third act, but without that knowledge some of this would have been confusing. When you can’t express your inner thoughts and true beliefs, an audible inner monologue would have been very helpful.

This film does a fantastic job of transferring the pages of the book to screen. I almost always prefer a treatment like this compared to a film that barely is recognizable to its book counterpart. The book has an anti-climatic ending, and that puts this film in the same predicament, and when the credits start to roll, I’m left wanting a little more.

Analysis from M:

I hated this movie. Honestly, had I watched this movie before reading the book, then I would have never turned the first page. I understand this movie is meant to be artistic and melancholy, but it was almost unwatchable. Every part of this movie was so monotonous. Even the screaming and pain and fear all lacked any sort of passion or enthusiasm.

The book provided plenty of opportunities to make a dark film that still showed emotions of varied intensity. Instead, this movie feels like you went to the theme park, expecting to ride the new Batman coaster and ended up just stuck on the train all day.

Also, these people all look like hell. They should, it’s in keeping with the book, but I’m curious as to how that happened. I mean, do they tell people to not get sleep and only eat like once a day for months, or is this just what British people look like without makeup??

Addendum II:

Equilibrium (2002)


L: 6/10

M: 5/10

Analysis from L:

This movie is ridiculous. It’s 1984 on Dwayne Johnson level steroids. It is most deserving of getting the “How Did This Get Made” treatment. Whenever the book 1984 is brought up, this movie always pops into my head. Even during the recent reading of the novel, scenes of Equilibrium played out in my head. The fact that the opening paragraph for the film’s Wiki page doesn’t include the words “Nineteen Eighty-Four” or “George Orwell” is genuinely shocking.

The over the top action in this movie fills in the dull moments of a script that at times is traced directly from the book 1984. The best time to drop a crazy ridiculous impossible martial art gunfight is right after someone utters, “OHH SHIT!” I couldn’t help but smile to myself like an idiot as Christian Bale impossibly murdered waves and waves and waves of the evil government police force. Even my cat was interested.

Sure it’s a dumb movie trying to hit a more profound mark that gets buried under a Michael Bay and Matrix gang-bang induced coma of action. Fun is fun, and you might as well just admit it, or submit to the thought-repressed boot heel of our political overlords.

Analysis from M:

Christian Bale is sexy in this movie, which is a rarity, in my opinion. Beyond that sentence, I have really no opinion to offer. There were some badass fights and impressive action sequences, but no more impressive than movies that can also provide an enjoyable storyline and actual character development.

The reason this movie is getting a higher rating than it probably deserves is for the curveball within a curve ball within a curveball at the end. Had I been invested enough in the movie to really give it some thought, I’m sure I would not have have been so surprised by the ending sequences, but my lack of penis might explain why I just wasn’t all in.

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