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The Crucible (1996)

Director:
Nicholas Hytner

COUNTRY
USA

Genre
Drama/Historical
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Heksejakten

RUNNING TIME
121 minutes

Producer:
Robert A. Miller
David E. Picker
Screenwriter (based on his play):
Arthur Miller


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
John Proctor Daniel Day-Lewis
Abigail Williams Winona Ryder
Judge John Danforth Paul Scofield
Elizabeth Proctor Joan Allen
Reverend Parris Bruce Davison -
Reverend Hale Rob Campbell -
Thomas Putnam Jeffrey Jones -
Giles Corey Peter Vaughan -

 

Review

This adaptation of Arthur Miller's allegorical play is potentially powerful, but somewhat disappointing. A literal witch hunt in the Massachusetts Bay Colony towards the end of the 17th century plays as a parable for 1950s McCarthyism. In the role as senator McCarthy's proxy, Abigail Williams, an energetic Winona Ryder with wild eyes tries to expand her horizons as an actress. She demonstrates her talent, but the character is also lacking in depth. It's so stereotypical and unprogressive that it borders on counterproductive. Her motive for instigating the witch hunt is her passionate affair with John Proctor, a married man, played with vigour by Daniel Day-Lewis. He is also the voice of reason in a society that goes completely off the hinges, and his character is crucial for making both the explicit and implicit story here resonant. Day-Lewis manages to keep the film interesting when director Nicholas Hytner at times seems to forget that he's directing for the big screen and not the theatre.

Copyright 28.04.1997 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
(English version: 29.10.2020 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang)