Netflix has just released yet another Stephen King adaptation this month in the form of 1922. The film stars Thomas Jane and Molly Parker as a couple whose marriage is falling apart, and they are arguing over whether to sell their farm and seek prosperity in a big city or stay together and work it out. And then murder and horror happens. Token King.
The film is very intriguing at first, more so due to Thomas Jane’s performance who delivers a stoic and physical turn. He barely opens his mouth when he speaks, and moves very slowly, always lurking in the frame. The film is told through flashbacks and voiceover narration of Jane while he writes his confession letter.
1922, like most King works and adaptations, are reliant upon motifs, and in 1922 it’s rats. We see rats, so much in the film, that it begins to become overbearing to the point of, ‘yes we get it’. The rats wear out their welcome quickly. As does the rest of the film.
For being a period piece, the film’s sets and costumes are top notch, the film looks and feels authentic, and the cinematography and score shore up the world that is on screen. The main issue is the story. It’s nothing new, nothing really that original and as the film’s runtime clocks along, it becomes fundamentally uninspired and not interesting which is a shame, because Jane is great and he makes the film worth watching and finishing.
King adaptations are tricky because a lot of the time they are birthed out into the visual medium to capitalize on King’s brand. More times than not, the adaptation isn’t all that great, and a lot of the time that has to do with the source material. 1922 is okay but leans more towards the bad than good with an ending, that without Jane’s powerful performance would warrant an eye roll.
Review by Frank Mengarelli