Although the novel and the film are very similar, seeing the film enhances the novel because from the opening shot of "Nineteen eighty four" the viewer is plunged right into the hell hole of Oceania and the ultimate totalitarian nightmare. Second the scene when Winston and Julia are captured by the Thought Police, this scene was riveting. Third it gives you a visual basis upon which to look at the book, and I can tell you that with very few exceptions, the movie is exceptionally true to the book. It was very easy to spot the deviation as I read through it, but from a visual perspective, this movie goes to great pains to depict things exactly as they are described in the book.
There are just a few things about the film that bug me, and I'll bet they bug other Orwell readers too. There is no real attempt to deal with what or who Big Brother is; in this film, Big Brother seems to not be an embodiment of a neatly packaged and simplistic political philosophy but rather just a face on a screen.
The whole point of Big Brother in the novel is that he is given a personality, even if he does not really exist as a person. This could have been even eerier in a film that in a novel, if done rightly. A great disappointment and a major chance missed. Second is Newspeak wasn't explained. Ok you can skip that in a film, but then why us O'Brien depicted talking in Newspeak, and why are we left in the dark as to what the hell he is doing?
Thirdly, I was a bit let down in the character of O'Brien. He seemed to come off as a standard inner party drone in the movie,