Indignation Screen 15 articles

Indignation

2016

Indignation Poster
  • In Schamus’s adaptation of “Indignation” there’s no Beethoven; the music that Bertram blasts is Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. The difference matters; the musical choice marks the difference between intimate expression and public display, between the terrifying and visionary novel and the cramped and simplistic movie. Schamus doesn’t just cut out the Beethoven; he cuts the heart out of the novel and delivers only its inert remains to the screen.

  • I’d read the book beforehand to prep, which may have been a mistake: I was at all times aware of exactly which point I was at in the story, and thus how much more time there was left. The strange thing about Indignation is that its major adaptation changes seem to be aimed at people who already care about Roth, rather than those coming to the movie cold.

  • It's made with care and taste and as much loving attention to period detail as a small budget and a tight shooting schedule will allow. But the movie is a touch stately and methodical, and it doesn't get out of the house much. And though Schamus is a seasoned, respectful adapter of Roth's prose, it's just plain hard, if not impossible, to do full justice to the novelist's mercurial shifts between irony, knockabout farce, regret and outrage.

  • While it retains the humorous dialogue of late Roth—particularly in a riotously Kafkaesque philosophical debate between freshman Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman) and Dean Caudwell (Tracy Letts)—Schamus’ Indignation plays it totally safe in visually and dramatically portraying the stifling Korean War-era atmosphere of a fictional Midwest college.

  • Bravo to Schamus for making something which is so focused on detail rather than big, broad drama, but too often the events in the film skirt the bounds of interest rather than break through to its core.

  • The film doesn’t break any fresh ground, and at times plays more like a series of engaging moments than a cohesive whole, but its craftsmanship is impeccable. Rather than literally interpreting Roth’s work, it transforms the edginess, vitality and cultural inquisitiveness of his writing into a cinematic ride — no small feat, considering the material.

  • Reviews of the book suggest that Roth’s characterizations were weak and sketchy, a handicap Schmaus doesn’t entirely overcome. Nonetheless, he directs his cast well and captures an authentic feeling for the time, aided by a richly evocative, occasionally mournful color palette by cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt and Amy Roth’s costumes, which the actors inhabit with perfect ease. This one’s well worth your time.

  • The film ably adapts one of Roth’s fleeter novels, retaining much of its humor as we dig deeper and deeper into Marcus’s warring desire for sex and his shock that any woman might want it as much as he does... The only thing missing from the scene is the underlying reason for Marcus’s difficulties in adjusting: that of his complex Jewish self-identity in wishing to avoid the heavy protestantism of his surroundings while also eschewing Jewish fraternities so as not to pigeonhole himself.

  • It's rare and exciting to see intellectual ferocity onscreen, even if it's the annoyingly self-righteous undergrad variety. Schamus wisely makes no effort to run before he can walk, taking visual cues from Ang Lee's earlier films rather than his later ones, and trusting the actors with the heavy lifting.

  • As I expected from Schamus, a high quality "serious" movie, with all of the trappings of seriousness. Actually it is exceedingly well-written and captures the churlish, altogether unpleasant spirit of Philip Roth better than any other film adaptation I've seen... It took Schamus's well-appointed, highly accomplished treatment of Philip Roth to remind me. I don't really like Philip Roth all that much. Still, Indignation is solid as antique oak furniture, and every bit as useful.

  • Schamus doesn't need to visually overemphasize Marcus's righteousness; it's a mark of the film's sophistication that it's impartial in its mise-en-scène (Letts and Lerman's sparring match is covered in a ping-pong of single shots arranged nearly on the conversational axis), and leaves it to the viewer to sort through the issues implicitly raised in the dialogue.

  • If the film doesn’t have Roth’s sense of cosmic determinism, it makes up for it by the scene's sheer structural audacity, which transforms the movie from precise and immaculate to something terrifying, unpredictable, and alive.

  • Schamus’ commitment to a style, and to the material, yields potent results... As the movie draws to its inexorable conclusion, Schamus reveals one overt narrative trick he had up his sleeve the whole time, and if you’ve keyed in to the movie’s rhythms, it’s quite a devastating one. It brings home all the indignation of Roth’s work, and adds some fresh fuel to that fire.

  • I think that Indignation will be studied for years as an intelligent adaptation of Roth’s novel, but it ought also to be admired as a well-crafted work in its own right. It finds fresh ways of molding fiction techniques to the demands of cinema in general and Hollywood tradition in particular. And the film reminds us—or me, at least—how much contemporary filmmaking owes to the consolidation of “novelistic cinema” seventy years ago.

  • Even though the film’s action unfolds during the Korean War (1950–53) and Schamus wasn’t born until 1959, his handling of period is as nimble and evocative as his grasp of Jewish American speech patterns, and he combines this sensitivity with certain elements and inflections that make the film seem contemporary as well.

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