Deepa Mehtas film of Midnights Children
  • Deepa Mehta’s film of Midnight’s Children

The movie version of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, which opens Friday at the Gene Siskel Film Center, suffers from an inferiority complex that’s common to film adaptations of highly regarded novels. The movie feels overstuffed with incident, as though the filmmakers (including director Deepa Mehta and Rushdie himself, who’s credited with the screenplay) were trying to include as many details from the book as they could. This approach is surely born out of good intentions, the filmmakers wanting to retain the wealth of details that made the source material so good. Yet the resulting film (and so many reverent adaptations like it) only reminds you how much more satisfying the book must be. Where long novels allow you to savor certain details and narrative digressions, a feature-length film has to rush you through them if it wants to preserve the density of its model.