Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon star in HBO Films’ Fahrenheit 451, a drama based on Ray Bradbury’s classic novel of the same name, which depicts an alternate tomorrow in which media is an opiate, facts and history are rewritten, and “firemen” burn books.
Fahrenheit 451 follows Guy Montag (Jordan), the most popular fireman in his district, with a mandate to achieve happiness and social harmony by burning books, physical or electronic, deleting and altering history, art, photos and facts, and replacing words with simplistic emojis.
“Natives,” or citizens, mainly stay home, happily interacting with screens and getting anything they need from “Yuxie,” an advanced AI personal assistant that listens to and watches them at all times.
“Eels” fight to save books, knowledge and culture. When firemen catch them, they punish Eels in public burnings, which are broadcast to the city on giant building-screens; the Eels’ digital identities and histories are wiped clean and they are banished to Talay City, a poor slum with very little technology.
Captain Beatty (Shannon) is Montag’s mentor and friend, and the head of the regional fireman brigade. He is grooming Montag to take his place, but Beatty also harbours a secret: a desire for knowledge and books, exactly what he trains Montag to burn.
Beatty manages to ride a fine line of contradiction to survive within the Ministry. He finds himself losing control of Montag, his prized student, who is haunted by dreams and increasingly questioning his beliefs.
Interacting with Clarisse (Sofia Boutella), an Eel-turned-informant, Montag is drawn to forbidden knowledge. The turning point comes when an old woman burns herself alive, in front of Montag, for her books. Now, Montag must know why.
Fahrenheit 451 will be premiering on HBO (Astro Ch 411/ HD 431), the same time as the U.S. on Sunday, May 20 at 8am, with a same day primetime encore at 9pm. The film will also be available on HBO On Demand (via Astro GO).