Dorian Gray (2009)

The ugly truth…

Oscar Wilde’s 1891 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray has long proved a source of inspiration for film-makers across the globe, from the 1945 classic named after the novel to the 2003 actioner The Leaue of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which the character appeared as a minor player. The original novel’s aesthetic may be pure 19th century gothic, but its themes of desire and mortality remain of universal fascination; so it is that we are presented with the latest in a long line of Gray adaptations.

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The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)

Derailed…

In the press notes for Tony Scott’s garish remake of the 1974 heist classic The Taking of Pelham 123 – itself adapted from the novel by John Godey – screenwriter Brian Helgeland states that his version gets under the skin of its central characters far more than either the original film or novel. To suggest that your adaptation may be better that its source is a bold statement indeed, and it’s immediately clear that Helgeland is way overstating the achievement of the film in character development. For while Denzel Washington’s performance showcases his usual, dependable breadth of human emotion, Travolta’s characterisation is about as deep and meaningful as a box of bricks.

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