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Click above to purchase "Of Mice And Men (1992)" at amazon.com

 

Of Mice And Men (1992)

review by Zach B.

 

Rated PG-13

Running Time: 110 minutes

Starring John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, Casey Siemaszko, Sherilyn Fenn

Screenplay by Horton Foote
Based on the novel by John Steinbeck

Directed by Gary Sinise

Studio: MGM

Retail Price: $14.98

Features: Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Stereo Surround, French Stereo Surround, Spanish Mono, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (16 Scenes)

Released: November 6th, 2001

George and Lennie are two best friends who drift across the California countryside during the depression era of the United States. The two want a nice, easy going life and have dreams they kept dreaming. While Lennie's mental problems make for some problems of the duo. They are soon hired at Tyler Ranch, where they are thankful for the work. However, their friendship hits a crossroad when the owner of Tyler Ranch's son, Curley, has problems with his wife. When Lennie reaches out to her, it's up to George to realize what's going around him, making for a tragic end to a beautifully woven story.

Does that sound familiar? Of course it does. It's the plot to the classic book, "Of Mice and Men" which Gary Sinise brought to the silver screen (again) way back in October 1992. In my opinion, it's one of the finest literary adaptions ever to be brought to film. Adapting novels can be rather tricky as we all know. An incredibly amount fail, while so few stay true and bring the same wonderment as their book counterparts. It's even rarer to make it better than the actual original source material.

Yet what makes this such a good literary adaption? I think we have to thank the screenwriter and the director. Oscar® winner Horton Foote, who adapted another great book, "To Kill A Mockingbird" and wrote "Tender Mercies," outputs another fine script here. He stays incredibly true to the original Steinbeck novel. His dialogue and writing capture the themes, the characters and the lowly times rather perfectly.

Gary Sinise, who is a well known actor and a great one in my opinion, directs for a second time around with this adaption and also gets in front of the screen too. We can clearly see making this movie was a true joy and passion for him. While it clocks in a little under two hours, he truly gets the feel for the book and how so many of us have pictured it. Sinise has a great cast (more on that in a bit) and sets the pacing right. Setting up great shots and good flow, he hits it so right giving off such a great feel that almost feels like you're reading the book.

The acting is phenomenal. The cast pulls everything off gracefully. Sinise, as mentioned, also stars and gives one of his best performances as George. He gets the character's mentality and conflict down pat. This is one strong and fine performance. Supporting performances from Joe Morton, Casey Siemaszko and Sherilyn Fenn are also great. But I think John Malkovich steals the show as Lennie. The mannerisms, the voice... it's all there and just as I had imagined it. Malkovich also gives one of his best.

Rounding it all out is a fine score from Mark Isham and wonderful photography courtesy of Kenneth MacMillan. "Of Mice And Men" is one of Gary Sinise's crowning achievements of his career. If you like a good story or liked the book, this is a must see. Sadly, the movie was ignored during its original release and was snubbed for some major awards. It's really one fine picture.

Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, "Of Mice And Men" does look pretty good. Yes it has the occasional scratch and blemish, but nothing that really gets in the way of anything. There is also some slight shimmering now and then too. The colors and fleshtones are well saturated, giving off a thoughtful and natural look, especially with the glorious exterior shots. Kenneth MacMillan's photography never looked better, giving off an illustrious, storybook quality that this transfer captures very nicely. Black levels are solid and detail is really good. Interior shots give off a nice, classic feel. This transfer isn't perfect, but it is pretty nice and fits the film quite well in my opinion.

Nothing too special here, but the sound here is fine and does the movie justice. The English Stereo Surround track has very good ambience to it. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear and sounds crisp throughout. Since this movie is dialogue driven, I think it would make only for a decent 5.1 mix. Mark Isham's score sounds pretty splendous too despite the range limits. Other sounds are fine too. A better than average two channel mix. Also included is a French stereo surround mix and a Spanish mono track.

The nicely done Theatrical Trailer in anamorphic widescreen. I would have liked to see a commentary from Sinise as far as his directing duties go or some kind of featurette about Steinbeck.

I personally think this version of "Of Mice And Men" is one of the best literary adaptions to ever grace the silver screen. While I wish there were more extras, the DVD has a good presentation and a nice price. If you've never seen it, you owe yourself to check out Gary Sinise's wonderful sophomoric directorial effort.

(4.5/5 - NOT included in final score)

(4/5)

(3.5/5)

(.5/5)

(3.5/5, NOT an average)

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