Wolves howling in the air vents. The only actor I recognize is pregnant and I feel relieved every time I see her. Even if her character is just as empty as the others. I don’t know what anyone is thinking. In that sense it is very close to the source material—I assume, though I haven’t read the book. JG Ballard liked to maintain a clinical distance from his characters, like his protagonist Robert (D?) Laing.
The boy seems to stand for something. So too the dogs. Everything is supposed to mean something else. Utopian social commentary. Action doesn’t follow itself (making allegorical correspondance paramount) and the correspondances are impenetrable. The actors perform, but to a wall. Ballard’s seventies futurist setting is charmingly preserved. Unfortunately, so is seventies misogyny. There’s a very disturbing rape.
It’s not a bad movie. The music is very good. The photography, too, and the stylistic choices that the director makes. Somehow I was able to watch the entire thing. But I found myself wishing that the scriptwriter had taken Ballard’s book as tonal and thematic inspiration without feeling the need to be perfectly faithful to the story—something like what Ridley Scott did with the (two dimensional) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
I wondered what it would be like to rewrite the movie as a novel—there can be so much life in Ballard—only having seen it once, and never reading the book.