Last Tuesday, due to having little else to do, I watched the film Howl. I have always been a fan of the literature resulting from the Beat Generation and really wish that I had been made aware of this film's existence earlier. Thank you Netflix for filling me in.
I really liked the way that this film was made. The interview asides, the animation breaks, the courtroom scenes, the club readings, everything. I liked the differences in lighting and color depending on the time and location: i.e. more vibrancy in the courtroom, black and white in San Francisco, etc. The costuming, make-up and hair were very true to the characters and time period. The sets were well researched and realistic. I felt like I was there with Mr. Ginsberg: typing away, frustrations venting. As for the lead actor, James Franco, I feel as though this film may be one of his best portrayals. He had Allen Ginsberg down pat. Listening to his reading of 'Howl' throughout the film and later, to the actual readings done by Ginsberg, it was hard to keep straight who was who.
The only thing that I wasn't crazy about? The animation. Not it's existence, I've always been a fan of the use of animation in circumstances where it's difficult or not artistically feasible to use the "real life". I just didn't care for the style of the animation. Although I have this criticism, I have no suggestion as to what style should have been in it's place. Perhaps something a little more hand drawn, gritty and "sketchy"? I don't know.
This film was a definite 'A' for me. If you have any interest in literature, the Beat Generation or the concept of free speech, I highly recommend this for you. Add it to your queue.