The book adaptation is one of the biggest and most successful film genres as we have seen a whole host of terrific novels turned into movies over the years; we have another coming our way this week in the form of Dark Places.
Dark Place is the second of Gillian Flynn's novels to get the big screen treatment and sees Oscar winner Charlize Theron take on the central role of Libby Day. Nicholas Hoult, Chloe Grace Moretz, Cory Stoll, and Christina Hendricks are also on board and Gilles Paquet-Brenner is in the director's chair.
To celebrate the release of the film, we take a look at some of the much-loved novels that have made the very successful transition into film.
- Gone Girl
Gone Girl hit the big screen back in 2014 and was the first of author Gillian Flynn's novels to be adapted for the big screen. Flynn herself penned the screenplay while David Fincher was back in the director's chair for his first film since The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck, this psychological thriller focuses on a married couple in Southeast Missouri. The story starts with the dramatic disappearance of Nick Dunne's (Affleck) wife, Amy (Pike). This mystery takes many twists and turns and sees Nick himself becoming the prime suspect in the police force's epic investigation.
Gone Girl was met with critical and commercial acclaim as it won over critics and audiences. The movie was one of the best thriller movies of 2014 and grossed in excess of $369 million at the global box office by the end of its theatrical run.
Gone Girl is a spine-tingling movie that sees Pike and Affleck on top form. This is a dark and intelligent movie that is as slick and stylish as it is chilling and packed with twists and turns.
The movie went on to pick up nominations at the Golden Globes and Baftas and Rosamund Pike went on to pick up a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her fantastic central performance; it remains the greatest turn of her career to date.
- To Kill a Mockingbird
It was back in 1963 when To Kill a Mockingbird hit the big screen in the UK for the first time and it remains one of the greatest movies of all time.
Robert Mulligan was in the director's chair and the film was based on the novel of the same name by Harper Lee, which was released in 1960.
Mulligan, brings tolerance and compassion in keeping to Harper Lee's timeless classic, To Kill A Mockingbird, when at a time of racial inequality, Lawyer Atticus Finch is tasked with defending a black man charged with the rape of a young white woman. Gregory Peck took on the central role of Atticus Finch, in what remains one of his most iconic roles.
To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most timeless movies ever made as many of the themes are as important today as it was during the time that film was set and released. It is a movie and a message that still packs a very powerful punch for audiences.
Peck is perfect in the central role of Finch, while the director has captured the spirit and essence of the book without damaging it in any way. It is still a terrific watch.
The movie went on to be nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture. It would win three, including a Best Actor gong for Peck's wonderful central performance.
- American Psycho
Written by Bret Easton, American Psycho was a novel that was released back in 1991 and was adapted for the big screen nine years later in 2000.
Mary Harron was in the director's chair and teamed up with Guinevere Turner to pen the film's screenplay. Christian Bale leads the cast list as he took on the central role of Patrick Bateman.
Bateman, a wealthy New York investment banking executive, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he escalates deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies. Bale is joined on the cast list by Reese Witherspoon, Willem Dafoe, and Chloe Sevigny.
Harron manages to balance the horror and the humour of the book, while Bale gives a truly mesmerising and terrifying performance as Bateman. It is a blood and gruesome movie that does stray into the sublime and ridiculous at times, but Bale's central turn really does elevate the film.
American Psycho premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000, where it split critics and audiences - it continued to polarise as it hit cinemas.
- Fight Club
Fight Club was one of the most iconic and talked about movies of the nineties when it hit the big screen in 1999. This is the second David Fincher film to feature on the list and was an adaptation of the book of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk, which was released back in 1996.
Fight Club sees a nameless, loner, protagonist who befriends a strange soap salesman on a plane. They eventually go on to set up the eponymous Fight Club. The movie is packed with twists and turns and the climax and final revelation will have you on the edge of your seat.
By the time Fight Club hit the big screen, Fincher had already brought us movies such as Alien 3, Se7en and The Game, but this was really the film that made everyone sit up and take note of this director. Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter are on wonderful form from start to finish and the movie has gone on to become a cult classic.
Flight Club is a wild ride from start to finish and is a dark and controversial movie that did not win over everyone when it was released; many complained about the level of violence in the movie.
Over the years, there has been a new appreciation for Fight Club and, for me, it remains one of the best movies of Fincher's career.
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was one of the best movies of 2011 as the John le Carré novel of the same name got the big screen treatment from writers Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan and director Tomas Alfredson.
Set during the Cold War, the movie follows veteran spy George Smiley as he is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet mole within MI6. Gary Oldman took on the central role of Smiley and is joined on the cast list by Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, John Hurt, Ciaran Hinds, and Toby Jones.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a riveting spy movie as Alfredson masterfully weaves a web of lies and deceit. He does put his own stamp on the story, but he never loses sight of the original by le Carre. I love the deliberately slow pace as the director builds the tension and suspense scene by scene and moment by moment.
I have always been a fan of Oldman, but he really does give a great performance as Smiley. He went on to land his first Best Actor Oscar of his career; losing out to Jean Dujardin for his role in The Artist. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy also picked up Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score.
- The Shining
The Shining is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all a time and it was 1980 when the film sent a shiver down the spine of audience members for the very first.
The Shining was an adaptation of the Stephen King novel, which had been released in 1977, and saw Stanley Kubrick back in the director's chair. This was the first film for Kubrick since Barry Lyndon in 1975 and he had teamed up with Diane Johnson to pen the screenplay.
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) moves into an isolated Hotel with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), who is plagued by psychic premonitions. Jack soon discovers the hotel's dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac who tries to kill his own family.
Taking over $44 million it is a true piece of fantastic piece of cinematic work and arguably Jack Nicholson's most iconic role, 'Here's Johnny' will go down as one of the most famous quotes in Hollywood history.
- The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption was based on the Stephen King short story Rita Heyworth and Shawshank Redemption and was released in 1995. Frank Darabont was in the director's chair while Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman took on the central roles of prisoners Andy Dufresne and Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding.
The film, like the book, takes place in 1947, where successful banker Andy Dufresne is wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, resulting in him serving two consecutive life sentences in the fictional Shawshank State Prison set in Maine.
There, Andy befriends prison contraband smuggler, Ellis 'Red' Redding, an inmate also sentenced to life in Shawshank. Red procures a rock hammer and later a large poster of Rita Hayworth for Andy, both of which later lead to his inventive and successful escape.
For me, The Shawshank Redemption is one of the best prison movies of all time and it is driven by the fantastic central performances by Robbins and Freeman. I love the chemistry between the two men and it is this central relationship that really draws you in as a viewer.
Hard to believe, but The Shawshank Redemption was not a huge box hit when it was released - even though it did go on to pick up seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. However, home release changed the fortunes of the film and it has become a much-loved film.
- Dark Places
Finally, we round up with the gripping mystery, thriller, Dark Places. The story won Dark Scribe Magazine's Black Quill Award in the category of Dark Genre Novel in February 2010.
Featuring an all-star cast, the film adaptation sees Charlize Theron takes on the lead as feisty Libby Day, who is convinced by Lyle Wirth (Nicholas Hoult), the leader of the Kill Club to revisit the horrific night when her family were brutally murdered as he is unconvinced her brother is guilty.
The film is also supported by a superb cast including Christina Hendricks as Patty Day, Libby's mother, and Chloë Grace Moretz as Diondra Wertzner, her brother, Ben's, secret girlfriend.
Director and screenwriter, Gilles Paquet-Brenner, brings to life Flynn's characters with a touching, realistic staidness as we watch a broken woman re-face her deepest fears and visit dark places, will she finally uncover the truth behind that fateful night?
Dark Places opens at cinemas on 22nd January 2016, is available on digital download from 15th February 2016 and out on Blu-ray and DVD from 22nd February 2016, courtesy of Entertainment One.
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