Book adaptations are extremely popular. If a novel does well and becomes a bestseller, you can say that there will be an announcement in no time that there are plans for a movie. Handy. After all, the story is already there and has already proven its success. What went through the mind of Farhad Safinia when he decided to watch this film remains a mystery. In his debut, he presents the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. Exactly, a dictionary. Admittedly, entire tribes have this book in the closet, but who is excited by a film adaptation of a dictionary? Hopefully, a lot of people, because Safinia has canned an interesting production. No word of that was lied to.
“The Professor and the Madman” revolves around the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). In 1875 professor James Murray (Mel Gibson) decided to start the bulky book. Of course, he cannot do that alone, so he decides to get as many people as possible up and running. And one of these people is William Chester Minor (Sean Penn). This man makes more than 10,000 contributions. Murray is extremely grateful to him for that and wants to thank him. Minor, however, appears to be locked up in an asylum after he committed a murder.
This film is based on the fantastic renditions of Gibson and Penn. The always reliable Gibson puts down a perceptible character that you like to follow. He takes a helpful attitude towards Penn, who runs away with the most beautiful and layered role. He plays the mysterious Minor and portrays an intriguing figure. These two acting guns ensure that this film never collapses. That’s great, because the playing time of 124 minutes is really too long, which means that the film drags at times. It could have been a bit shorter and smoother. Thanks to the play of these two men, you keep watching. Nathalie “Game Of Thrones” Dormer is also in good shape in a nice supporting role.
Anyone interested in a forgotten piece of history must give this film a chance. Fans of the aforementioned actors and actresses, by the way.
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