Hook brings Flies to screen with skill and delicacy
LORD OF THE FLIES
Directed by Harry Hook.
Starring Paul Balthazar Getty,
Chris Furrh, and Danuel Pipoly.
At the Copley Place and
Harvard Square Cinemas.
By ELIZABETH WILLIAMS
HARRY HOOK'S Lord of The Flies is a stunning accomplishment -- he brings the novel by Sir William Golding to the screen with the skill and delicacy of touch of a master craftsman. This accomplishment is all the more impressive because he has brought the story forward to modern times and has made the characters American rather than British, while still preserving the essence of the novel. Those who have read the novel will see that Hook does not pull any punches with some of the more disturbing scenes.
Lord of The Flies is the story of a group of boys from a military academy whose plane crashes in the waters off the coast of a deserted island. Without the guidance of adults (the captain, injured in the crash, develops a tropical fever which renders him delirious), they must organize themselves in order to survive. A chubby, bespectacled boy nicknamed Piggy (Danuel Pipoly) finds a conch shell, which is used as a horn to call a meeting to order. The shell becomes the symbol of power, for the rule is made that only he who holds the conch may speak.
Ralph (Paul Balthazar Getty) is chosen as leader over Jack (Chris Furrh). He sets the priorities of gathering food and water, and lighting a fire to signal passing planes. The boys adapt rapidly to their tropical home, playing, hunting and guarding the fire. Conflict begins when Jack and some others go hunting for a boar, leaving their fire duty, so that there is no smoke signal when a helicopter passes overhead. Ralph confronts Jack and the group breaks into two factions -- those who believe they'll be rescued (led by Ralph), and those who don't and just want to have fun (the hunters, led by Jack). Jack's band leaves the rest, commencing the struggle between the civilized and the savage.
Jack uses fear and superstition to control those who have followed him. Raiding Ralph's camp repeatedly, using their weapons and taunts, they gradually win converts who fear for their safety in staying with Piggy and Ralph. This "game" of choosing sides becomes a horribly serious choice between good and evil when a boy is killed. Ralph and Piggy begin to discover that the only good in being good is the knowledge that you are right. As Piggy says, "We did everything just the <>
way grown-ups would have. What went wrong?"
As the movie progresses, one watches with sickening apprehension the results of espousing superstition and savagery, and the rejection of knowledge and reason. The gradual descent into savagery is excellently done by Hook. He makes use of gore to emphasize human cruelty and indifference. It is a little hard on a weak stomach, but it is not gratuitous -- it is illustrative.
The cinematography is spectacular, with an amazing underwater opening scene and numerous beautiful shots on the island, which is lush and tropical. The music, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, is well used in accentuating the pulsating build to the movie's climax.
The story is quite believably set in present day -- there are references to Rambo and Alf -- and perhaps more hard hitting because of it. The acting by all the boys is well done. Furrh's Jack inspires disbelief, anger, and frustration in the viewer. Getty as Ralph is perfect as the hunted angel and Pipoly's Piggy wins instantaneous sympathy. Lord of The Flies is intense and powerful. See it -- you will not be disappointed.