Dec 15, 2009

Critical observation of the week: Nine vs Bones

It's a toss-up between two excellent reviews, David Edelstein's of Nine and A O Scott's of The Lovely Bones. First Edelstein:

"In the film directed by Rob Marshall, Italian director Guido (Daniel Day-Lewis) has visions of the women in his life—on a stage. That’s right: This film about the visions of a visionary film director moves back and forth between life and a theater in which women in lingerie are carefully arranged around a multileveled set. With all the possibilities for Fellini-esque montage, for explosive dances in real settings, for cinema, Marshall maroons us in one big room, editing the numbers so maladroitly you can’t even savor their theatricality" — New York Magazine

This is a gloriously smart obervation but then the mistake is gloriously dumb: how is it that this film ever reached the screen without one person asking "hey guys, isn't Guido supposed to be a film director?" And here is A O Scott on The Lovely Bones:

"She is, in any case, obsessed with the lives that go on without her, in particular with the ways her siblings and friends and father (Mark Wahlberg, agonized) and mother (Rachel Weisz, narcotized) deal with losing her, something the audience never has to endure. We are always in Susie’s company, soothed by her voice-over narration and tickled by her coltish high spirits. This puts a curious distance between us and most of the characters in the film — it makes us, in effect, Susie’s fellow ghosts — a detachment that Mr. Jackson’s stylish, busy technique makes more acute." — New York Times
This isn't quite such a dumb mistake. It shows merely lack of foresight on Jackson's part not to have sensed the remove at which the events of his film were going to unfold; but that just makes Scott's diagnosis all the more acute.

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