‘1922’ Review: Stripped-Down, Slow Burn Stephen King Done Right

     September 27, 2017

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You get a Stephen King adaptation! You get a Stephen King adaptation! And YOU get a Stephen King adaptation! Hollywood has gone full Oprah on the best-selling author in 2017, delivering a steady stream of projects inspired by King’s prodigious catalogue. There have been world-building cosmic epics IT and The Dark Tower, serialized TV dramas Mr. Mercedes and The Mist, but it’s the filmed based on King’s more contained stories that have emerged as some of the most compelling, rich and faithful adaptations of the year, and as one of King’s most stripped-down tales, 1922 was ripe to lay the groundwork a focused and ferocious film.

Netflix is releasing Gerald’s Game later this week (read my full review here), a challenging and cathartic spin on a King novel that was long considered impossible to adapt. Next month, the will also release 1922, based on King’s short story of the same name from his collection Full Dark, No Stars. As directed by Zak Hilditch (These Final Hours), 1922 is a visually elegant inspection of guilt and the consequences of violence, keyed in the theme of The Tell-Tale Heart with King’s signature themes and earthy, workingman characters on full display.

Thomas Jane stars as Wilfred James, a Nebraska farmer who’s already learned to hate his strident wife Arlette (Molly Parker) when she inherits a fortunes-worth of land near the local railroad and decides she wants to sell the lot, move to the city, and take their 14-year-old sonHenry (Dylan Schmid). That doesn’t sit too well with Wilf, a leather tanned farmer whose land is his greatest pride, and it doesn’t go over well with Henry either, who loves the farm life almost as much as he loves the beautiful girl next door. Wilf may not have luxuries like indoor plumbing, but his way of life is his law and the idea of packing up for the city makes him sick with rage. Arlette, however, has never learned to love the rural life and her intractable decision to leave it all behind drives a wedge in their already fractured marriage. So Wilf decides to kill her, as you do.

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Image via Netflix

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