Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1996. Twentieth Century Fox. Screenplay by Arthur Miller, based on his play. Cinematography by Andrew Dunn. Produced by Robert A. Miller, David V. Picker. Music by George Fenton. Production Design by Lilly Kilvert. Costume Design by Bob Crowley. Film Editing by Tariq Anwar. Academy Awards 1996. Golden Globe Awards 1996. New York Film Critics Awards 1996.
Terrific adaptation of Arthur Miller’s groundbreaking anti-Red Scare play has lost some of its momentum now that the double meaning of the story isn’t quite as potent, but still works thanks to director Nicholas Hytner’s not concentrating on the film’s more political content and just delivering good, solid drama. Daniel Day-Lewis is a farmer in 18th century Salem who finds himself deeply involved in many of the paranoid witch trials being held in his peaceful village. Joan Allen plays his dutiful wife, and Winona Ryder gives her best and most fluid performance to date as his one-time mistress and servant who exacts revenge on him in the most vicious way when he spurns her advances. Everyone in this film contributes terrific delivery of Miller’s script, and the period details are dead-on.