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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

film critics! damned if we do, and damned if we don’t

Oblivion Olga Kurylenko Tom Cruise

Great. Now Calum Marsh at Film.com is chastising us film critics for not spoiling movies:

Spoiler Alert: Critics Shouldn’t Care About ‘Ruining’ a Movie

when a critic elides spoilers simply because a movie studio demands it, a critic is helping the studio more than the audience—and doubly so in the case of bad movies, which don’t have as much to fall back on once their secrets have been spilled. Only the thinnest and cheapest films can be truly spoiled by knowing their twists ahead of time, which is why, for instance, “Citizen Kane” seems no less great if one knows that “Rosebud” is the name of a sled. The kind of pleasure offered by plot twists are by nature superficial: it’s a momentary feeling of surprise and perhaps astonishment, a quick gasp that hardly lingers after the end credits role. It’s a nice feeling, one that we hope is preserved but not needlessly prioritized.

[B]eing thoroughly averse to spoilers on principle does present problems for long-form film criticism, which by its very nature demands full disclosure and the ability to engage seriously with every aspect of a film, including major plot points and, indeed, even the ending. Film criticism is supposed to help illuminate a film, not simply offer a yay/nay declaration of its quality, and in order to do so well it needs to assume that its readers will be familiar with the material in question in full.

Well… yeah. So then why is the whole damn Web pissed off when we do spoil things? You can’t have it both ways.

Unless. Wait. Is there someone who wants to pay for serious long-form criticism that doesn’t rely on being First! and posting before almost anyone has seen a damn film? Cuz that would be awesome.

Fuck it. You want spoiled? Fine. Tom Cruise in Oblivion? He’s a sled.


posted in:
critic buzz | Net buzz

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