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  • Series Premiere Date: May 19, 2018
Fahrenheit 451 Image
Metascore
47

Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

User Score
3.8

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 63 Ratings

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  • Summary: Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan) does his job of burning books without question until he meets someone that helps him to decide to go against his mentor (Michael Shannon) and society at large in Ramin Bahrani's adaptation of Ray Bradbury's sci-fi novel of the same name.
  • Genre(s): Drama, Movie/Mini-Series, Science Fiction
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 19
  2. Negative: 4 out of 19
  1. 90
    It feels timeless, but also very much of-the-time. More so than Francois Truffaut’s 1966 version of Fahrenheit--This Fahrenheit is distinctive, so on-message from one moment to the next, and so scary in both its depictions and implications, that there are times where it feels as if it’s intellectually brutalizing the audience, slapping viewers across the face to get them to wake up from a stupor.
  2. Reviewed by: Terry Terrones
    May 14, 2018
    67
    While the three leads' performances are excellent, particularly Michael Shannon as Captain Beatty, the cast of Fahrenheit 451 gets shortchanged by the film format.
  3. Reviewed by: Ben Travers
    May 14, 2018
    58
    As a story, it holds together well enough, if a bit too neatly. Even if you haven’t read the book, there’s a lack of urgency to the film because it fits so snugly into generic expectations.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    May 15, 2018
    50
    Fahrenheit 451 has its highs and lows. But you will walk away wanting to read a physical book, and maybe embrace it for a few moments beforehand.
  5. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    May 18, 2018
    42
    A disappointing film that can’t seem to rise above room temperature.
  6. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    May 16, 2018
    40
    [The new Fahrenheit 451] is generic, its critique muddled and its tone as subtle as a flamethrower.
  7. Reviewed by: Darren Franich
    May 18, 2018
    25
    The dialogue sounds tin, near-parodic. ... Fahrenheit 451 has it heart in the right place, but its head sure crawled up somewhere.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 9
  2. Negative: 2 out of 9
  1. Jun 3, 2018
    7
    The most trenchant criticism of HBO's reimagining of Fahrenheit 451 is that it might make you read the book.

    Probably these reviewers have
    The most trenchant criticism of HBO's reimagining of Fahrenheit 451 is that it might make you read the book.

    Probably these reviewers have not sat through Truffaut's 66 version which resembles an episode of "The Prisoner" rather then what we see everyday in 2018.

    Director Ramin Bahrani has obviously been given access to some of that Game of Thrones money because the film looks gorgeous in the way all BladeRunner 2049 films do - all flatscreen and neon. Except that flatscreens did not exist when Bradbury invented them in the original book.

    The screenplay takes huge amounts of leave to retell the story which makes this a less challenging work but much easier to consume. The acting is great - all three leads are knockouts. Jordan brings his Hollywood charisma, Boutella all eyes and intrigue but as usual it is Michael Shannon who just blows everyone off the screen. On top of "Shape of Water", there is no actor who best portrays toxic conflict then Shannon. I found his descent into heretical thinking while maintaining orthodoxy absolutely compelling.

    The conventional aspects of the film do take it away from the wider messages in the book as the film tries to shunt it into a structure of a modern thriller but if that allows the book to have a new audience it is worth it. It is a noble experiment even if tinged with mediocrity but its discussion of what is meaningful, what is true and the struggle against an idiocracy rings truer in 2018 then in 1953.
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  2. May 20, 2018
    7
    Interesting at times, boring most of the film. Great actors, amazing performances and some good action. It could have been way better but theyInteresting at times, boring most of the film. Great actors, amazing performances and some good action. It could have been way better but they decided to make it medium. Expand
  3. May 23, 2018
    6
    Fahrenheit 451 has good casting and performances from the main leads, some good action and tense moments, but otherwise lacks an engaging andFahrenheit 451 has good casting and performances from the main leads, some good action and tense moments, but otherwise lacks an engaging and memorable story. Expand
  4. May 23, 2018
    4
    I've been a reader most of my life but obviously when I was a kid I started with books according to my age. However when I started with moreI've been a reader most of my life but obviously when I was a kid I started with books according to my age. However when I started with more mature books I formed a trilogy with three novels that frankly had nothing to do with each other except that two of them were dystopic.
    Those books were the first adult novels I read and that's why I've always had a special appreciation for them. The novels to which I refer are: 1984, Slaughterhouse-Five and Fahrenheit 451.

    I'm not one of those crazy literature fans who get upset if the source material is altered when it becomes a film because I understand perfectly they are completely different mediums. Even so I must emphasize this film is a failure and I will not say it just because it wastes its cast, especially Michael Shannon, I say this because the film was unable to adopt even a little of the subtlety of the novel and far from being able to call it a successful adaptation it's rather the idealization of something that never materializes and therefore it's inevitable to judge it based on the book because the story was too good to be wasted this way.

    A sad misfire coming from HBO.
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  5. Aug 3, 2018
    4
    I don't do remakes. They're a cancer of the industry. Where I am more flexible, however, is in adaptations of novels that have already beenI don't do remakes. They're a cancer of the industry. Where I am more flexible, however, is in adaptations of novels that have already been adapted. After all, my all-time favourite film falls into this category (The Thin Red Line was the second adaptation of James Jones's novel). Fahrenheit 451 is also a second adaptation; in this case, of Ray Bradbury's 1953 novel, and, for all intents and purposes, it's a misfire. Bradbury himself has said the novel (the milieu is that of a dystopian future in which all books are burned) is not about censorship, as is often assumed, but was written in response to the Second Red Scare and the rise of McCarthyism. More specifically, it's a treatise on the dangers of an illiterate society unquestionably accepting the word of a monopolising centralised mass media.

    Now, you'd think that in this age of Trump's Fake News and people using Facebook as a news source, something with this subject matter would speak volumes to a contemporary audience. And you'd be right. Unfortunately, this film isn't about sheeple and mass media. Apparently unaware of Bradbury's statements, the filmmakers have focused almost exclusively on censorship. But it falls down in other areas as well. Mildred Montag is absent, hence the theme of addiction to television broadcasting which tells people how and what to think. The famous scene where Beatty recounts the history of books is gone, replaced by some scattered allusions. This serves to undermine the absolutely essential nature of what the rebel's are doing by memorising whole texts. This should be the film's absolutely central statement, but instead, it comes across as a bunch of weirdos being quirky. Michael B. Jordan plays Guy Montag as a bombastic loudmouth TV personality. Michael Shannon is, well, Michael Shannon. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy. He's an actor of immense talent. But here, he's playing an identical character to the one he played in The Shape of Water. It's an extraordinarily lazy performance. In fact, everything about the film is lazy. Ramin Bahrani's direction is flat and uninspired; the whole thing looks like Blade Runner lite. It's all very conventional and safe, which neither the novel nor François Truffaut's 1966 adaptation was. And this conventionality and safety grind against the inherently rebellious subject matter, rendering it less urgent, and hence, less potent.

    5/10
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  6. May 27, 2018
    4
    Interesting premise, would probably have worked better as an HBO miniseries than a actual film. I never read the actual novel but I wasInteresting premise, would probably have worked better as an HBO miniseries than a actual film. I never read the actual novel but I was excited for this film nonetheless just because of the cast and the stuff I had read about the book. The cast is great, though Michael B Jordan's character is given little character development, poor motivations and Sofia Boutella could have been utilized alot better than the way she was used. All in all, It's a mediocre film that could have been and should have been alot better than it turned out to be. Expand
  7. Jul 11, 2018
    1
    The modern screen version by classics of anti-utopia causes in me only disappointment and despondency. This movie one big spittle in a face toThe modern screen version by classics of anti-utopia causes in me only disappointment and despondency. This movie one big spittle in a face to all readers of the original.
    Why Monteg became black? Where his wife?
    What the hell the novel culmination in general another in difference from the original. Where nuclear explosion?
    The only light spot of this "work" - an excellent game of the actor of Michael Shannon. For him it is possible and to give 1 point estimates.
    The worst screen version of the literary work that I saw.
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See all 9 User Reviews

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