Midlands Review - Nevermore
By midlandsmovies, Apr 10 2018 03:51PM
Nevermore (2018) Dir. Derry Felton
Nevermore is a short film adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe poem, The Raven, by filmmaker Derry Felton. I will say straight away that it’s probably not something that everyone will go in for, but if you’re someone who is a fan of Poe’s work, or perhaps gothic-type pieces, Nevermore might be worth investing some time into.
I liked what Felton attempted here. I think there’s always a lot of inspiration to be taken from literary works because they are so open to interpretation. This whole idea that the story centred around someone who had been institutionalised following some sort of personal tragedy was a very grim route to take. But I can’t ever really fault people for going with darker narratives, and I think with work such as Poe’s, you’d struggle to go far wrong with this approach anyway, regardless of what the viewer’s personal tastes would be.
I think what would’ve been better for me personally, as someone not familiar with the source until I’d done some further reading, would’ve been some more information on the wider context in which the story is set. In the film, there’s flashbacks pointing towards the past of the characters in question, but something like a short prologue wouldn’t have gone amiss in setting the scene before ploughing on with the story.
Something else that I think would have also helped people like myself who aren’t as well-read on Poe’s work, especially the poem on which this is based, would’ve been to put a more up-to-date twist on the language. I have to admit that this was something that caused me the most issues as I struggled to follow the, at times, quite lyrical dialogue that flowed throughout the entire piece.
It’s something that I think has been done with a few of Shakespeare’s works to some extent, and I know from experience that modern takes on anything revolving around literature can often help it appeal to more people, and also boost understanding of what’s going on.
As I’ve said, I liked the interpretation of the poem. I think the idea of basing the story around someone who had gone reasonably insane was a good one, and is definitely one of the strengths of this film.
There were times, however, that I felt it got a little bit too abstract. Now whether this is due to my unfamiliarity with the original works I can’t say for sure, but there were definitely a few moments that went over my head, which is why I say some form of wider context, or modern translation wouldn’t have done any harm at all.
One final thing that caught my attention were the contrasting looks of this film. I thought there were some decisions made during that editing process that have worked well for this short and the story it told. The harsh lights and the blue tones used in some shots mixed well with the faded appearance of some of the others, and I noticed that this went some way in helping me with my understanding of the storyline.
On the whole, I think this is a solid attempt at adapting a piece of literature that I’d imagine wouldn’t be massively easy to work with. There’s definitely potential to be taken from this film, and also a few tips to be taken on board that will hopefully mean that Felton’s next project is even better. It’s not for everyone, not by any means at all, but if dark, period poetry is where your passion lies, and for quite a lot of people it does, this is definitely worth a punt.