John Malkovich as Lennie Small
Gary Sinise as George Milton
Casey Siemaszko as Curley
Sherilyn Fenn as Curley’s wife
Some film adaptations of classic novels run into problems when they try to divert too far from the original story, in their desire to set themselves apart they can lose the very essence that endears them to the masses. Gary Sinise’s version of Of Mice and Men however steers clear of that pitfall, the plot sticks faithfully to Steinbeck’s original and the result is a triumphant homage to the novel.
John Malkovich gives an incredible performance as Lennie, the gentle giant with a penchant for soft things and getting himself and loyal friend George into trouble. It is a true testament to Malkovich’s talent as an actor that he can play Lennie’s simplicity with such a depth that it tugs at the audiences heart strings.
If Malkovich is exquisite as Lennie then Gary Sinise is equally so in his portrayal of George, the eternally loyal best friend doing his best to keep Lennie safe. Sinise plays the character with a strength and dignity that allows the inner turmoil George faces shine through whilst still encouraging love and forgiveness from the audience. It should also be noted that in his role as director Sinise helped to craft the noble adaptation.
One of the main themes throughout Of Mice and Men is the strong bond of friendship between men, this is brought to life in every aspect of the screenplay. The subtleties that Gary Sinise brings to his character when he is dealing with Lennie, and the clear turmoil when he has to make that final heart breaking decision, brings to life that sense of love between the two men. This adaptation is impeccably presented and the brilliant performances from Sinise and Malkovich make it well worth a watch whether you have read the novel or not.