A great cast manages to save the film from unremarkable direction. Dalton Trumbo's script fits the long, winding tale of degradation into the confines of film quite well. Though the paranoia of the book is underplayed to the point you would miss that plot element entirely if you didn't read the book. The message of the book, that self-doubt and self-loathing cripples a person mostly cast aside in favor of a straight-forward prison tale and screed against bigotry. Luckily Trumbo preserved the line where Bok denies any sanctity in the act of mere suffering. So at least they didn't completely miss the point.
Also, the scene with the clergyman seems oddly out of character for a guy who is supposed to be confused and constantly on the verge of a mental breakdown.
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