Before I start, I’d like to thank Xi for the use of his excellent Book to Movie idea. Given the content of this mega-review, I’ll return it only slightly soiled.
Ian McEwan’s novella The Cement Garden was a novel that I read at school, and stuck with me for much longer afterwards. A haunting dreamlike novel, with a consummately unreliable narrator, it is both celebrated and reviled in equal measure. Having said that, I never for the life of me thought that anyone would be nuts enough, given it’s intensely controversial subject matter, to even attempt to adapt it for the screen. Yet in 1993 Andrew Birkin (remember that last name, it’ll be important later) took a stab at it, and turned in a haunting, lyrical, sombre little film that wasn’t afraid to look at the inherent unpleasantness of the novel’s plot.
OK, here we go. Buckle up, this one’s stormy.
We’re just one big happy family – except for a little incest and psychosis
Jarv’s Rating: 3 Changs out of 4. A savage social satire masquerading as a truly disgusting monster movie. It may be a tad unsubtle but, nevertheless, the final scene simply has to be seen to be believed. Honestly, I’m a bit traumatised now.
The late 80’s were arguably the most soulless time in history. Evil over hair-gelled bastards had proclaimed themselves as the Masters of the Universe and all completely missed the point of Wall Street and secretly really wanted to be Gordon Gecko. At the same time, the true evil of the “Hit Factory” was foisting manufactured bubblegum music on the world (we’re still suffering from the legacy of that), and this period represented the absolute apex of the Randian inspired cult of the individual. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that this was the most selfish and self-interested time that I’ve witnessed and not one that I feel particularly nostalgic for. At the same time, however, Brian Yuzna was also disgusted at what he saw, but luckily for the world he had both the experience and a platform to properly voice his disgust. The result? 1989’s scabrous satire Society- a film with a blazingly unsubtle message, but a hugely entertaining look at the rich as another kind of animal altogether.