Friday, 11 November 2011

A Prayer for the Dying Review

Although I haven't read the Jack Higgins novel yet, I imagine that the movie is very true to the book.  It has all the hallmarks of a good Higgins novel.  There's the IRA guy who has become jaded towards the cause.  There's gangsters, an innocent girl and guns with silencers.  And the story is classic Higgins.  The problem is that they didn't do a really good job in delivering that story.

Higgins novels are melancholic and dark.  And while the film is shot and written that way too, the acting is pretty poor.  It's surprising because the film stars Mickey Rourke and features Liam Neeson.  While Rourke isn't horrible, he isn't anything to write home about either.  And Neeson's character is so minor that they don't even really need it.  The rest of the acting is well below average save for one.  Bob Hoskins is quite good as the priest.  He probably gives the best performance of the entire movie.

Being a thriller, you would expect there to be more action involved.  But there really is next to none.  I say this because Jack Higgins is known for writing compact action thriller novels.  So, if you are expecting that knowing that it is a Higgins story, you will be disappointed.  The movie moves very slowly.  It would have helped to write in a bit of exposition rather than relying on visuals to tell the story.  That would make it move it along quicker and allow for a couple of tense action sequences.  Those scenes work in the written word.  On screen, they slow things down.  Making those tweaks would have made for a better adaptation.

If you are a Higgins fan like me, you will probably want to see it just because it is a Higgins story.  But, other than that, I would have to recommend that you don't see it.  And it pains me to say that because I'm a huge Higgins fan.  I guess his books just don't translate well to the screen.

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