With so much demanding our attention these days, kicking back with a good book is becoming a dying pastime. If you don’t have the time to invest in a chunky best-seller, quality film adaptations offer the next best thing. Sure, the book is often better than the movie version, but a filmmaker’s interpretation of your favourite novel can sometimes be just as rewarding – and surprising. Here are just some of the titles JB Hi-Fi has curated this month for your
reading viewing pleasure…
Those who’ve read Nick Horby’s best-seller may have even pictured Hugh Grant as Will, the immature kidult taught to grow up by 12-year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult). It’s one of his best roles to date and the film is a highly faithful adaptation – receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, no less. Fans of the novel might find the ending a bit contentious, though.
Of the numerous adaptations of Stoker’s seminal vampire tale (first published in 1897), Francis Ford Coppola’s take may not be definitive (despite the Stoker prefix), but it’s undeniably the most sumptuous and mesmerising screen interpretation to date. Oscar-winning costume design and ravishing production values bring this classic to life.
Dan Brown’s pulp thrillers make for a good read on a long haul flight, and his 2003 best-seller made it to the screen under the direction of Ron Howard, with Tom Hanks starring as cryptologist Robert Langdon – the thinking person’s Indiana Jones. Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman’s exposition-heavy adaptation gives you everything you need without turning pages.
Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning masterpiece is based on the historical novel Schindler’s Ark, by Australian writer Thomas Keneally. The author was initially hired to write the screenplay, only to deliver a miniseries-sized script. Enter screenwriter Steven Zaillian, who complied with Spielberg’s request for greater focus on the Jews, and a more impactful ghetto liquidation scene.
Irvine Welsh’s cult novel is written in frequently incomprehensible Scottish dialect, making Danny Boyle’s film adaptation far more accessible. It doesn’t, however, shy away from the seedier side of life in the company of Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie, so be warned. Perfectly cast and with a pumping Brit-pop soundtrack, the film is both a great adaptation and a time capsule of the nineties.
The Coen Brothers translate author Cormac McCarthy’s stylised prose into a taut and terrific thriller that’s remarkably faithful to the novel. Anyone who picks up the book after seeing the film will inevitably picture Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem – as hunter Lewellyn Moss and relentless assassin Anton Chigurh, respectively – playing cat and mouse across the desert.
Don’t panic! This big screen adaptation of Douglas Adams’ insanely popular cult novel stays true to the spirit and wit of the book and improves on the 1981 TV series in every way. Nicely cast, with Martin Freeman as earthling Arthur Dent and Sam Rockwell as Galactic Emperor Zaphod Beeblebrox, it’s a fine interpretation of Adams’ absurd universe.
This dramatisation of former pro hockey player Eric LeMarque’s incredible story of survival against the odds, after becoming lost in the High Sierra, is adapted from his memoir Crystal Clear: “There was some divine intervention that happened that is in the book but not in the film, because I didn’t want people to think I was lying,” Le Marque told STACK.