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Misery (1990)

Director:
Rob Reiner
COUNTRY
USA
GENRE
Grøsser, thriller
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Misery - kidnappet
RUNNING TIME
107 minutes
Producers:
Andrew Scheinmann
Rob Reiner
Screenplay:
William Golding
Based on the novel by:
Stephen King


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Paul Sheldon James Caan
Annie Wilkes Kathy Bates ½
Sheriff Buster Richard Farnsworth ½
Virginia Frances Sternhagen ½
Marcia Sindell Lauren Bacall ½

 

Handling

Rob Reiner took good care of Stephen King's juvenile characters in the coming off age drama, Stand By Me in 1986. This was probably a deciding factor why King finally allowed his book "Misery", to be filmed when Reiner signed on as director. The not too convincing success of King's previous screenwriting led the producers to William Golding for the script. But unfortunately, although Golding seemingly keeps in line with the plot of the book, he misses the most vital part; getting under the skin of Paul Sheldon, making us feel his pain, his suffering and his fear. In that respect, Reiner's film only grazes the surface, and the casting of a somewhat passive James Caan doesn't help the cause. Golding also makes a few alterations to the mere storyline, probably in order to intensify the suspense. The question is whether these modifications at all do that, and if they help maintain the peculiarity and originality of King's story. In my opinion, they do the opposite; normalize the film and make it more conventional.

Still, Misery is a fairly intriguing and chilling picture. The real treat is of course Kathy Bates, whose performance is Annie Wilkes spot-on. She should have been given even more room to excel. Reiner might be a little too cautious in his directing, but he also includes a couple of hilarious scenes which spice up the experience. Delighting are also the wonderful Richard Farnsworth and King favourite Frances Sternhagen as the old, small-town sheriff couple.

Re-reviewed © 15.9.2006 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review © 27.6.1996 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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