For Reel


Howl (2010)
April 17, 2011, 8:55 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Director(s): Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Freidman

A noble, albeit largely forgettable experiment, filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Freidman sought to both contextualize Allen Ginsberg’s 1955 anti-conformist tirade and to cinematically interpret prose into psychedelic animations. The latter part is the least successful. It’s literal-minded and silly, ignoring the real life frustrations of Ginsberg’s generation by transposing his verbiage into a fantastical world. Restaging the 1957 obscenity trial, Epstein & Freidman have the most luck – David Strathairn, as the prosecutor, continuously confesses that he doesn’t understand the poem, and rather than demonizing the square, his character is used as an opportunity to write a love letter exclaiming just who Ginsberg was and what joys can be had from his work.

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