What's the point of movie criticism?by Malcolm Thorndike Nicholson / March 4, 2014 / Leave a comment
Why do critics insist on interpreting even masterpieces like Rear Window as if they were little different to plays that simply happen to be screened in cinemas?
Popular film criticism, a stalwart of newspapers and weekly magazines for nearly a century, is a difficult art. Stray too far into film theory and one risks losing all but a niche audience. Err too closely towards the predictable and the critic begins to sound like any other opinionated member of the audience. We want reviews which tell us something smart and surprising, but we also want to be amused and untaxed.
The internet has made the critic’s job all the more difficult. The variety of online writing on film is almost limitless, with every taste catered for: from disposable fan-kitsch posts about Star Wars and Disney Princesses, to long and insightful blog posts about the actor George Sanders, or the strained production of John Carpenter’s sci-fi classic The Thing. Given this abundance of writing, what audience is left for weekly film critics? What purpose do they still serve?
It is to these question…