Review: Fahrenheit 451

HBO reimagines a sci-fi classic in its latest original film, Fahrenheit 451.

Based on the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel of the same name, Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a future United States that looks to eliminate all books and denounces anyone who tries to create a sanctuary for them.

The destruction of books is enforced by “firemen” led by Captain Beatty (Michael Shannon) and his young protégé, Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan). Once books are found, their job is to burn them on the street in a fire-show, televised for all to see.

Montag is the hotshot of the group and has the respect of his fellow firemen as well as his aging boss, Beatty, who is grooming him to eventually take over his position.

But Montag eventually begins to question his job, especially after watching an older woman voluntarily go up in flames along with her collection of books. He eventually meets and befriends Clarisse (Sofia Boutella), an informant of Beatty’s who also has reservations about her actions and decides to join an underground movement to preserve books and knowledge. Montag soon finds himself having to choose between his devotion to his job and his captain, and his evolving beliefs on the future of humanity through the preservation of the written word.

Jordan, coming off his role as the villain Erik Killmonger in Black Panther, also serves as executive producer of the film, which looks to entertain by providing a stark view of a dystopian future that may not be totally unimaginable.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.