Another Netflix original based on a Stephen King novella, 1922 is the first one that real nails both the quality of a King story with the quality of well produced delivery. Where Gerald’s Game fell a bit flat at times, 1922 kept me glued to the screen the whole time. One of the main reasons this film is so compelling is due to the powerhouse performance of Thomas Jane.
Set in Nebraska farmland during the 20’s, the film presents a much different landscape authentically executed reminding us of a time before modern appliances, the internet, cars that had windows and all the entertaining distractions we enjoy so much now. People were bored, desperate for something, anything, to make life interesting while some were determined to keep things just as they are. Wilfred James (Jane’s character) is a proud man and wants to keep his farm to pass along to his son. His wife Arlette has dreams of selling off the 100 acres she inherited and moving to a new life in the big city. Wilfred only sees one way to keep the farm and prevent his wife from selling off his legacy; a murder plot is hatched…
Not one of King’s scarier stories but with the way it plays out, it’s not that kind of story. This one hinges more on intrigue and the consequences of choices along with the concept of curses and a supernatural presence. How the cover up to the murder plays out and the fall out afterward are other components of the story that offer interesting ways of moving the story along. The irony of the ending is also largely satisfying.
As I mentioned, one of the main reasons to watch this movie is Thomas Jane. Jane is an excellent actor and has shown great examples of his range over various films; this is Jane at the top of his game. His delivery is subtle but clearly defined with a great balance of quirkiness and stability with moments of uncertainty and vulnerability. He reminded me a bit of what Billy Bob Thornton was able to achieve in Sling Blade. Molly Parker as his wife Arlette portrays her character with passion alongside a strong cast. The cast includes Dylan Schmid, Kaitlyn Bernard, Neal McDonough, and Brian d’Arcy James.
1922 is a classic Stephen King story, check it out on Netflix.
reviewed by Sean McKnight