1984 was a groundbreaking novel then turned film in the same year of its name. Winston Smith spends his working days rewriting history and rebels against the current society by falling in love.
At times it is very difficult to watch, you are uncomfortable throughout the film and it does not really get any easier as you make it to the end scene. It makes you think what you would do in that society and how you would cope with it all. Although does some of it actually ring true now? The constant surveillance could be true really, big brother is always watching. Think about how often in a day you are on video being watched now, probably for most of the day without even realising.
Thoughtcrime is a real thing in this film as well, Winston does not help himself at all by keeping a diary of his thoughts. But I guess that is something many people would actually do in this type of society. Everything is thrown into turmoil when he meets Julia a fellow free-thinker and they embark on an affair. Having sex on their first meeting and then wanting to continue the very forbidden relationship. It was never going to really last very long though.
When they are then found and detained by the police, they are separated and both tortured. O’Brien is evil towards Winston and really makes him sorry for the things he has done. The thing with the torture is that they delve deep into your mind and really find out what you are most scared of. Taking you into room 101, the key with this room is that it is filled with that persons deepest fears.
For Winston this is the rats … It is a torture chamber and is still very well-known as a place you would never want to visit. It destroys you in so many ways and the greatest fear has to be knowing what will be in there before you go in, as it is your fear. Big Brother knows everything about you and uses it all against you in this awful room.
John Hurt is fantastic as Winston and you really do find yourself rooting for him, when everything else is against him. Richard Burton is pretty terrifying throughout and this was in fact his last film role. I think that makes it even more haunting knowing it was his last ever film role and he died before the film was even released.
The end scene is extremely emotional as well watching a broken and destroyed Winston being back in the world and struggling to function properly again. It is hard-hitting and you really do feel sorry for him. For actually having thoughts he was then destroyed. I guess in some ways people would say this is actually very real to what happens in some societies today?
I watched this film as a catch up and part of the 1984-a-thon!
I thought this was the perfect choice of film for the 1984-a-thon as it was based in the future from the novel and then made into a film in 1984 for its release. I wonder if it scared a lot of people even more at the time? As now 30 years later it still strikes hard and will get you thinking about how often you are being watched and how much freedom of speech and even thought you are allowed!