Friday, February 26, 2010

more Shutter Island

Richard Brody is apparently trying to make it up to me for all the lousy movie reviews TNY has ever published. Since Kael, he's been the New Yorker film reviewer with whom I've been most simpatico. So, of course, I've only ever written about him once. But check it out. He defends Shutter Island! My favorite line, from a recent blog post, is this: "A critic invoking reality is like a politician invoking God—if insincere, it’s demagogy; if sincere, it’s dogmatism."

Oh. Wait, no. It's this: "A movie isn’t a mere reflection of reality but, more important, an expansion of it, and that’s what lots of viewers are seeking and getting from this one."

Actually, screw it. You have to read the whole thing, and his post on The Prophet as well. Again: "The possibilities of movie-making are more or less boundless; a movie isn’t only what it shows but also what it omits."

All of this sounds like a dismissal of my least favorite masculinist sub-genre: the false-consciousness film. Shutter Island is tricky, but it isn't a false-consciousness film. It doesn't treat its audience like dupes. It makes them skeptics. Along the way, Brody opens up my favorite can of worms (he calls it the, um, "r-bomb"). He also mentions the packed theater, a significant part of my own Shutter Island experience.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh God, I too loved Shutter Island! Especially the second and, yes, the third time I saw it. An incredible experience and the more I understand about my own experience and why it keeps haunting me, the more I think it's one of the best movies I've seen in ages. Why are film critics so quick to have an agenda as I think they do here? A.O. Scott and David Edelstein, in particular, couldn't wait to condemn anyone who might actually like this movie as Scorsese "whores". What a load is that? Borderline contemptible at best. Anyone who can honestly go to this film and not see it as Scorsese's most personal film in some time doesn't hold much water. At least Kael was willing to go into the world and view movies with the audience, something Brody seems up for as well. Good for both. I think that's so much more important than going to a screening with other critics or something provided by the "studio" so you won't have to mix with the masses. Anthony Lane has always gotten on my nerves because he's more interested in showing us what a "smart" mouth he has -- much moreso than actually reviewing anything in depth, at least as far as I can tell. Brody is my new hero amongst critics, whether I always agree with him or not.

9:25 PM  

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