Confession time: I have seen both Battle Royale and The Hunger Games, but until this week had not seen Lord of the Flies. One the plus side, I have remedied this fundamental gap in my knowledge. On the less positive side, I wish I had left this piece of history on the shelf. The fundamental story is every bit as clever as one would imagine it to be. The source material is a rich reflection on “civility” and its flaws. Even if the colonial themes seem a little (thankfully) distant to the contemporary viewer, Golding’s dissection of human nature rings as true. The film contains some powerful moments. However, the whole is marred by some truly awful performances. There are very few good child actors in general, but some of these lads should have never been put in front of a camera. Worst of all is Hugh Edwards in the role of Piggy, not only because he is incapable of delivering a line convincingly, but also because he is given so many lines to deliver in his stilted fashion. Praise be that Edwards has since gone on to bigger and better things – ergonomic design, not acting. The bonus is that Piggy features less as the film progresses. It is no coincidence that I enjoyed the film most in its concluding sections. This might sound cruel, but when the film is populated solely by an adolescent cast, they need to at least be watchable. All this said, at least this film might divest school kids of watching film adaptations as a substitute for reading their core literature texts.