There are probably far more favourite books that have been destroyed by film than successfully made into a film I can love and admire, but there are two that stand out as champions. Neither is completely reliable to the text, but I think what matters is that they understand the tone and context of the film, if they have that then a few nips and tucks rarely matter. These two movies are coincidentally junky fiction, I'm not sure why but this is a subject I often gravitate towards in literature, perhaps because of my aversion to that particular sub-culture in real life, but I think it is because it is so... real. None of that happy ending crap you get in Hollywood where no one has any issues or problems and in the end they all get what they want. Films and books with drugs at the centre of them show life as it really is, gritty, hard-work and as easy as hell to screw up. It isn't really about the drugs I guess, it's just that this level of truth often only comes out in films when there are drugs involved. Anyway I'm rambling and I'm not quite sure what I'm trying to say so here are my two favourite books that have been made into films.
Written by Irvine Welsh
published in 1993
Directed by Danny Boyle
released in 1996
starring Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewan Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller
* Hopefully you've all read Trainspotting or at least seen the film, if not it is "a loosely knotted string of jagged, dislocated tales that lay bare the hearts of darkness of the junkies, wideboys and psychos who ride the down escalator of opportunity in the nation's capital" (quote via the Herald). I love that quote, it so perfectly summed up the story for me that I can't even try to compete. Unfortunately all of the Trainspotting scenes I wanted to pick on youbtube had the embed button disabled, so instead you get to see Sick boy impart his wisdom on Renton as they lay in the park shooting dogs.
2. Candy (A novel of love and addiction)
Written by Luke Davies
published in 1998
Directed by Neil Armfield
released in 2006
Starring Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish and Geoffrey Rush (fabulous Australian cast)
*I'm not sure if this book/film made it overseas but basically it is about Candy and the narrator (unnamed in the book, Dan in the film) and their tumultuous love affair with one another and heroin. The book covers their 10 years together while the film condenses that somewhat, but it is still a wonderful film made from a fantastic book. There is so much to love about both and I highly recommend them. This clip is from the opening of the film, oh my god, what a way to open a film...beautiful, poignant, and so heavy.