Film In Bedroom Story Killings Andre Dobus. Essay

Length: 4 pages Subject: Literature Type: Essay Paper: #92079596 Related Topics: Silent Film, Characterization, Anne Frank, Story Of An Hour
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … film "In Bedroom" story "Killings Andre Dobus.

Too Hollywood: "Killings" vs. In The Bed

In all actuality, it would be exceedingly difficult for any feature film to match the emotional depth and breadth of a (good) work of literature. Although Hollywood will claim otherwise, a true story cannot be told with images but with the connotations, the complexities, and the nuances of words, and with words alone. Subsequently, as can be expected anytime anyone attempts to stretch out a 15-page short story (approximately) into a two hours plus (130 minutes) film, there are several inconsistencies between Andre Dubus' short story entitled "Killings" and its feature film adaptation, In The Bedroom. But that's not the primary problem with the latter which, even more so than the short story itself, is a bloated, exceedingly lengthy production high on theatrics and drama and relatively low on emotion and characterization. The primary problem with the movie version is that it does not necessarily stay true to the characters -- their motives and their depictions -- that Dubus originally conceived in his short story. The fact that these elements are different in the feature film version of this tale is to be expected, of course. But what the film lacks is the betrayal of the true emotions that powers the characters in Dubus' manuscript, which subtlety changes the meaning of the story.

One such instance in which this point is readily apparent is in the degree of resolve with which Matt Fowler regards his slain son Frank's relationship with Mary Ann (whose name is inexplicably transformed to Natalie in The Bedroom). Dubus purposefully leaves Matt's interest in the pair decidedly ambivalent -- it is clear that...

...

"He touched Frank's bicep, thought of the young taut passionate body, believed he could sense the desire; again he felt the pride and sorrow and envy too, not knowing whether he was envious of Frank or Mary Ann." There are a number of subtle connotations in this quotation that are never portrayed in the movie. The reader does not know if Matt (who is referred to as "he" in this quote) is displaying homosexual tendencies (as would be the case if he were envious of Mary Ann and her attention from the "taut," "passionate" body of his son), or if he is jealous of his son for being with an attractive woman. These moral ambiguities play a deciding role in Matt's decision and method of killing Strout, and animate the former's character despite the brevity of this story. Whereas Matt shows a variety of emotions for Frank and Mary Anne's relationship in the preceding quotation (ranging from sorrow to affection, envy to pride) in the short story, such emotional layers are reduced to sentimental images and largely trite dialogue. The exchange between Matt and his friend Willis during a barbecue in which both men admire the "assets" of Frank's love interest -- who is being called Natalie in the movie -- is a typical example of Hollywood's tendency to reduce emotionally mature, complex passages in literature to laughable exchanges bereft of virtually any wit, let alone understanding and feeling, which Dubus took great care to portray in his novel. Instead of the multi-layered thoughts and feelings which Matt displays towards Frank and Mary Anne in the previously mentioned quotation, in the movie this sophistication of language is exchanged for cliches about "getting my youth back."

In In The Bedroom, however, such complex depth of characterization is largely missing from the performances of all the actors. One of the primary distortions that exist within "In The Bedroom" that does absolutely no credit to Dubus' prose can be seen in the caricature which the former presents of the relationship between Matt and…

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