Tuesday, July 31, 2018

having finally seen A Quiet Place ...

Richard Brody's review of the film seems even more idiotic.

Any case that Brody could make that the film is reactionary, racist or white supremacist wants for substantially more of an explanation than just supposing that lizards are subtextually necessarily black people.

Had the whole film been made with Denzel and Thandie I would have enjoyed the film as much as I would though, in fact, it starred Emily Blunt and John Krasinski.  Since the last film I remembered Blunt and Krasinski working on at the same time prior to A Quiet Place was Hayao Miyazaki's magnificent The Wind Rises I figured that if these two were working on another film together it would, at absolute worst, be a decently made horror film.

And it is a decently made horror film.  I don't feel any need to spoil the thing if you haven't seen it because this post is less about the film than about having seen the film and being more convinced than ever that the film critics at The New Yorker are managing to make themselves look like complete and utter morons when they write about genre film.

It's not that I can't take a film critic seriously who writes about arthouse or foreign film.  I may not always agree with Charles Mudede but as film critics go he's shown that he has a sense of how to engage genre and pulp film on its own terms and then switch to other standards.  For those who never read the point and counterpoint he was involved in at The Stranger about Batman Begins, he wrote the he thought Nolan's film was a really well-made superhero film and that it's a Batman movie, he wasn't going to find it wanting for not being a Bergman or Kieslowski film.  Or as a more famous film critic put it, Roger Ebert said there's such a thing as telling people whether the hot dog was a good and tasty hot dog rather than insistently telling them they should. not. be. eating. hotdogs!

What makes Brody's reactionary stance toward A Quiet Place seem so stupid is that the criteria for the verdict boomerangs on approval he's given to another genre film.  If it's reactionary and racist for white parents to fight to protect their children then was it reactionary and racist for the queen mother of Wakanda to work with family to ensure T'Challa could by all means possible be revived?  Brody wasn't complaining about Coogler's film.  I had a blast watching Black Panther and I enjoyed A Quiet Place.  Smaller budget high concept horror may be having something of a renaissance and perhaps I should say that whether it's A Quiet Place or Get Out the horror films that have been notable work on having a clear grasp that it is suspense that energizes a narrative more than jump scares and gore. 

You know, unless you're mining the splatstick idiom like Sam Raimi but that's practically a different subgenre all its own.

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