Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Red Riding" is "trendy garbage"..

...according to Armond White.

...contemporary opportunist Michael Winterbottom produced the "Red Riding Trilogy" as part of his ongoing project to diminish cinema as a thorough, conscientious, imaginative art form to a glib, casual, technology-driven formula. Big on digital video, Winterbottom emphasizes visual frivolity where Rossellini bent documentary-style to melodramatic means in order to achieve a new appreciation of life as lived and as perceived through art. Rossellini’s genuine sophistication makes an astringent experience of his primarily emotional (spiritual) emphasis on the aroused citizens fighting Gestapo occupation in "Open City," the various Allies’ and civilians’ common suffering in Paisan and the tragic incapacity of youthful understanding in Germany Year Zero. But Winterbottom, choosing the most gruesome and unconscionable of human experiences, employs TV technique to make viewers less thoughtful and less sensitive.

"The Red Riding Trilogy" (asinine reference to the Little Red Riding Hood folktale) has that smartabout-movies attitude discouraging emotional response in favor of snark. Winterbottom implies that cynicism is fun. He continues the silly romance with film noir that suggests the world is a dark, godless, unsalvageable place—the opposite of how Edgar Wright satirized English provincial corruption in the great Hot Fuzz. Each Red Riding film, set in 1974 (directed by Julian Jarrold), 1980 (directed by James Marsh) and 1983 (directed by Anand Tucker), uses a splintered, time-shifted narrative that absolves audiences from demanding consequence and comprehension; proof that nobody reads Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot or even Dostoevsky (whose Prince Myshkin gets reduced to a sniveling, retarded child molester named Myshkin—a scapegoat that turns us all into idiots).

1 comment:

Tulkinghorn said...

This is interesting because it willfully ignores that the flaws of the movies are the flaws of the books the movies are based on. This is something that more movie critics should do: Ignore the context.

It also makes the producer(!) the auteur...

Criticising a movie because it's not Scott, Eliot, or Dostoyevsky (much less classic Italian neo-realism) is a very odd thing for a movie reviewer to do. It's not wrong at all, but if those are your touchstones, you might want to find a more congenial line of work.