REVIEW: Wise Blood (1979)

Flannery O’Connor’s style is cinematic, dripping with desolate atmosphere and moral quandaries, however, few visual adaptations exist. John Houston’s Wise Blood comes close to getting it right. Brad Dourif is the ideal actor for Hazel Motes bringing intensity to the character’s directionlessness. His eyes have that searching quality even though we know he’ll never find any answers. The supporting cast does great work including an underused Harry Dean Stanton as the blind preacher who’s the subject of Hazel’s obsession. 

Huston follows the book’s plot closely but he lacks the moral gravity that O’Conner places in every sentence. Overall if you are unfamiliar with Flannery O’Conner this is a good starting point as it does include all of her trademarks like racial and religious commentary, Southern setting, and desperate characters. 

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