Perhaps only James Franco would go from a slapstick comedy about trying to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un to an adaptation of William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury - one of most notoriously complex books in literary history deemed unfilmmable by many.

James Franco As I Lay DyingJames Franco [L] in his previous Faulkner adaptation, 'As I Lay Dying'

But Franco is an ambitious and determined artist and his look at the trials and tribulations of the Compson siblings, living in the deep south during the early part of the 20th century is commendable, if ultimately a failure.

The movie - Franco's fourth in two years - premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Friday (September 5, 2014) and, as feared, was a bit of a sitting duck for critics.

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"To say that his latest, an adaptation of a celebrated, Nobel Prize-winning novel by William Faulkner, feels half-finished would be an understatement," said Robbie Collin of the Telegraph, "It barely feels half-started. Faulkner's book, an oblique and complex tale of the American South's festering decline, hasn't so much been reworked for cinema as simply dumped on the screen in handfuls, and the result is a swirling mess."

James Franco

"Franco's take on the decline of the Southern Compson clan isn't quite as radical or impressive as his split-screen take on the novelist's As I Lay Dying, which premiered in Cannes only last year. Since the latter film struggled to find an audience beyond VOD, Sound will clearly face an uphill battle at the box-office," wrote Boyd van Hoeij of the Hollywood Reporter.

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"Perhaps it's time to reiterate our belief that Franco, when he's not slavering over a fence, undoubtedly has talent in many arenas," wrote Jessica Kiang for Indie Wire, "But do we really believe he is such an unprecedentedly gifted polymath that he can create multiple projects simultaneously and turn in something truly great in any/all of them?"

It is perhaps no surprise that Franco has no less than 12 acting projects in development and 4 directorial efforts - including a biopic of Charles Bukowski. Quite how well these will fare - or where the audience will come from - remains to be seen, but there's no doubting his hunger.

The Sound and the Fury is yet to get a release date.