Title – Of Mice and Men (1992)
Director – Gary Sinise (Miles From Home)
Cast – Gary Sinise, John Malkovich, Sherilyn Flynn, Ray Walston, John Terry, Casey Siemaszko
Plot – During the American great depression, drifters/farm hands George (Sinise) and the mentally handicapped Lennie (Malkovich) try to make a life for themselves by eking out an existence on a large farm where challenges for the two will arise from their co-workers and the wife of the short tempered Curly (Siemaszko).
“Guys like us that work on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world. They ain’t got no family and they don’t belong no place. They got nothin’ to look ahead to”
Review by Eddie on 9/06/2016
It’s never an easy task tackling an adaptation of a famed novel and revered writer John Steinbeck’s oft talked about and well-loved title from 1937 Of Mice and Men is a risky proposition for the big screen with its deep themes, hard hitting examination of human nature and multilayered characters but all the way back in 1992 actor/director Gary Sinise (a face still perhaps best known from Forrest Gump and now sadly the TV series CSI: NY) alongside John Malkovich, helped turn Steinbeck’s source material into a drama filled with heart, soul and against all odds, humour.
Sinise’s masterstroke of casting himself into the lead role of caring soul George Milton who takes ownership of Malkovich’s hulking yet handicapped Lennie in the farming plains of America in the late 1920’s/early 1930’s helps bring Steinbeck’s words to life with the two unlikely comrades enacting a banter and chemistry between each other that quickly brings the viewer into their worlds, both through the eyes of the driven George and the child like Lennie, who in many ways is but a small child trapped in the body of a stronger than he knows adult who’s main concern is getting a puppy or tending to rabbits when indeed every day of his existence is threatened from more than one angle.
Through these two fine actors we have access to two men we come to care for and relate to, Sinise has arguably never been better even though his role requires little flash while Malkovich’s considered and measured turn as Lennie is quite the feat, which makes the fact his turn was largely ignored upon release quite mystifying. The two are ably supported by fine turns from side players Ray Walston as the aging yet loving Candy, Sherilyn Flynn as the hard done by wife of a farm owners son and farm hand Slim played by John Terry. With the actors on song in front of the camera, Sinise shows sufficient craftsmanship behind the camera while screenwriter Horton Foote delivers a hearty dose of emotional heft in a script jam packed with delivery of human kindness and the tough decisions that sometimes need to be made despite the hardship it will no doubt offer in the short-term.
A fulfilling and quietly powerful adaptation of a loaded novel, Of Mice and Men stands up well against the test of time and makes one wish Sinise had in the years proceeding this film’s release gone onto more memorable ventures behind the camera as well as in front of it and while the tricky subject matters may not be classed as entertainment in the typical sense, Of Mice and Men is a quality title deserving of its fine reputation by those that have discovered it as the years progress.
4 dirty overalls out of 5