Review: The Sound And The Fury

The Sound And The Fury
The Sound And The Fury by William Faulkner

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Well, what an absolute stinker this was. I can recall very few books I’ve enjoyed less than this, and none that spring to mind as I write. This is yet another ‘Stream of Consciousness’ novel which turned out to be absolute balls, William Faulkners ‘The Sounds and The Fury’ is the story of three brothers and their long suffering servants, as the family name falls to ruin in 1920’s Mississippi.

The book is broken down into four main sections each one narrated by a different character. The first section is written from the perspective of Benjamin ‘Benji’ Compson; the families 33 year old mentally disabled man-child… and boy does it show. The first 64 pages of this book is practically unreadable. Benjis narrative style has a complete lack of correct grammar, sometimes whole sentences lack any form of punctuation and the chronology of events jumps back and forth without any warning – there were times It was hard to tell where one sentence ends and others began. Absolute drivel.

Next, for some reason, the story then jumps back in time 18 years in order to tell the story of Benjis older brother Quentin and his eventual suicide; this section was a touch more readable but unfortunately not much more interesting.

The final narrative jumps back to 1928, this time from the perspective of Quentins asshole younger brother Jason, who for whatever reason, seems to enjoy torturing the negro help. That’s my psychological analysis by the way, “Forget 1920’s racism, he’s clearly just an asshole”.

As if the nonsensical first person tale of the Compson brothers wasn’t confusing enough, in the final chapter Faulkner says ‘Fuck It’, and suddenly proceeds to write the story of one of the black servants ‘Dilsey’ in the third person. Why? Because ‘Fuck You’, that’s why.

Well, OK, now I’ve complained about structure, lets move onto plot. So what’s the book about? Nothing. Very little happens. Some people get sick, some people die, some money goes missing. It’s all very dull, boring and unreadable. How books like this make it on to ‘Top Novels’ lists is beyond me. It’s terrible. I wanted so badly to quit this train wreck of a novel, and was relieved when it ended.

If this review was not enough to put you off reading it, then on your own head be it.

View all my reviews

[IMDBTop100] #71: Inglourious Basterds (2009).

I B Teaser 1-Sht.“You know somethin’, Utivich? I think this just might be my masterpiece”.

This is the line made famous by Brad Pitt in the monumental 2009 World War II gem “Inglorious Basterds”. You’d assume that Tarantino himself scripted this line in order to convey to the audience a sense of overwhelming pride in his latest theatrical achievement; and with very good reason. ‘Basterds’ may just be one the very best films from a director who has gone from strength to strength throughout the entirety of his career.

Creating dialogue driven features with such unrelenting violence and foul language, Tarantino has managed to carve himself a nice little niche in  films which are usually shunned by mainstream cinema audiences. Now with several Academy Award wins under his belt, Tarantino has been recognised and welcomed into Hollywood with open arms – a feat which is not easily accomplished by a director with such unapologetic and uncompromising vision.

‘Inglorious Basterds’ (not to be confused with the Italian war film ‘Inglorious Bastards’ from which its title was inspired) is an entirely fictional take on the eventual outcome of World War II and the fall of the National Socialist party. The story follows a group of elite Jewish American soldiers (and a few German allies) who are placed deep behind enemy lines with the sole purpose of killing and scalping Nazi soldiers as revenge for crimes against humanity. Under the command of their leading officer Lieutenant Aldo “The Apache” Raines (masterfully played by Brad Pitt) these Jewish soldiers soon make a name for themselves as almost mythical monstrous beings who take great pleasure in the dismemberment and disfigurement of the Nazi German soldiers – which they do. Because of this, word of ‘Basterds’ soon reaches Hitler who enlists the help of “The Jew Hunter”, SS colonel Hans Landa (an Oscar winning performance by Christophe Waltz) in order to track down and crush the American threat. This tends to be the main focus of the film but as with many of the films by Tarantino, it provides a rich tapestry of supporting roles and characters in a series of interlinking stories which ultimately build to one exciting climactic finale.

It’s very hard to review a film like this without including spoilers, but I would just like to reiterate that this is in fact a fictional take on the events of World War II and it is important to expect the unexpected. If you are a history buff looking for gritty realism; this film may not be for you. Even if you are not a complete cinefile, It’s fairly easy to spot a Tarantino from a mile away because he is the master of his craft, usually taking a very specific setting or story and completely reimagining it with his own style and vision. The dialogue and the events may not be historically accurate, but with this film he created some of the most perfectly crafted and insanely tense conversational scenes in recent cinematic memory – all as part of a film which is both gruesome revenge thriller and an homage to classic war films like ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Kelly’s Heroes’.

A modern classic; well worth your time.