The sad thing is that such a great novel, with so many unusual elementals in
it, is very difficult to translate into a film.
The good part, is that this film is fun to watch, despite, it not being able
to follow the book as closely as one would like to see. I happen to like
the spirit of the work, which William S. Burroughs, creates in almost all
of his writings, stage work, and even in the original stuff he has done for
artist and musician LAURIE ANDERSON. (Sadder yet that she did not appear to
be a part of the film!)
And the neatest part, is that many good actors, just couldn't help
themselves when they had a chance to be a part of such fun and unusual work
to deal with.
The novel is not the easiest thing to bring to a screen. It is very quick
in that it moves freely between various forms of a stream of consciousness
and narrative moments, or another set of events which the main character
can't quite keep up with, or has to go get himself a fix, disguised, or at
least so he thinks, while his alter ego is having fun with him. For all
intents and purposes, this is a drug experience piece of work, and when it
is placed on the screen as a formal story, where the character has problems
dealing with his feelings, it quite doesn't come off. Or Terry Gilliam
should have directed this whole thing, to help blend the inner and outer
aspects of the book.
But it is a rather depressing film, and not specially upbeat, although we
could enjoy all the weird goings on, as a bit of New York surrealism, if not
gutter New York naturalism. I had enjoyed the book quite a few years
ago, when the Grove Press was making sure all the eclectic writers around
were getting their due. I have to admit, that while the actors try very
hard and do very well, and nicely with what they have, the film is not as
and jumpy as the novel is. The novel keeps you interested. In this film,
it seems that everything is so casual, and not important....I like the
The movie is good, but the book is better....if you like Burroughs, this
movie will not be your bag. If you like surrealists, and odd 60's stuff,
this is actually interesting.
Copyright © 1994 Pedro Sena