22 January 2006 | bensonj
Great, Unknown Conrad Adaptation
It's a shame that this English-speaking film is totally unknown in the US due to its unavailability. It's one of the great adaptations of Conrad to film. The first part, on land before the sea voyage, was filmed on location in Burma with some really fine British actors, particularly the actor who plays the older captain who gets him the job (I'd like to know who that is). The photography, especially the use of color and light, is extraordinary and Wajda captures the sense of a real place and time. (It really should be seen on the big screen.) This is about one of those Conrad voyages where nothing goes right. It's a young man's first experience as captain: his ship becalmed, an ailing crew, and a half-mad first mate who claims the ship is jinxed by the former captain. While the essence of the story--a dead calm and nothing happening--is a difficult subject to film, Wajda is up to the task and the film is engrossing throughout. And the dialogue isn't plagued by the tin-ear that than can occur when English is not the director's first language. Just a terrific job all around.