A group of young boys stranded on a deserted island struggle to form their own society.
Americanised, lightly updated and beautifully shot in colour, this new screen adaptation of William Golding's classic novel still rather begs the question: Why?
It adds little to Peter Brook's black-and-white 1963 account (itself no masterpiece) of the degeneration of castaway schoolboys. The tale is still chilling as the boys, military academy cadets this time round, separate into those few who would survive by maintaining social order and the growing number who regress to savagery. Like Brook, director Hook has embraced the allegorical and symbolic burden of the book, and for good measure have thrown in a wounded adult pilot to provide the boys (competently played, particularly Daniel Pipoly as pitiful Piggy) with one more unwanted responsibility and nightmare figure who becomes "the beast" of their deadly hunts.
The disturbing ease with which the children's behaviour becomes tougher, meaner and finally bestial are almost too handsomely visualised. As an outing to complement study of the book the film is worthy enough but curiously less than the sum of its parts.
Disturbing fable on the degeneration of social order