Mar. 13th, 2007


Mar. 13th, 2007 12:30 am
reenka: (Default)
I just finished seeing Breach, which is mostly a character piece drama, and on a whim I decided to read around a dozen online reviews.
    What's noteworthy about this is that they all pretty much agreed on the main virtues of the plot/execution of the movie and the good acting for the movie's main focus character, but I was unable to find -one- review that assessed the characters' and the other actors in a way I agreed with or that really agreed with each other, either o_0

It was sort of disturbing to me, the insight I unwillingly received about the review writer's personal biases by the spotlight on their reaction to these two characters (and their actors). Like, whether the person found the 'villain' sympathetic yet wrong, just creepy and hypocritical, an intimidating boss, a 'devoted' Christian and 'stern yet loving'(??!!!) family man or a pervert (who made porn vids of his wife-- a fact that got distorted in several reviews positively or negatively) verging on 'fanatical' religiosity-- all of this is sort of painfully telling 'cause everything else in these reviews is so uniform in terms of response. Likewise, it seems telling when people say there was no need to know about the main 'hero's' family life (and we didn't know that much! just enough, and I wanted more!), or that the wife complained for no reason (wtf??) or one saying that the actor was easily identifiable-with vs. others saying he was incompetent compared to his 'wily' boss (implying that if you're earnest and cocky, that's basically close enough to incompetence).

What bothers me is that these are 'professional' reviewers or at least people who do it seriously and often, right, and yet they all said these things with the same casual authoritativeness as they described the movie's direction & how well it functioned as a spy story. I wouldn't dream of describing my personal reaction to characters without making it clear it's personal and putting it in that context; I mean, if you're going to seriously comment on characterization issues as a critic, you have to be aware of the biases you're bringing to the table, mostly 'cause -everyone- has them. No one seems capable of looking at these characters (and to some extent, performances) truly objectively. Meh.

I mean, in fandom, people just squee and/or write long soliloquies in passionate defense, but I guess the bias and personal judgments just look less insidious when people are upfront about them. I honestly could empathize/understand any character I consider well-written and realistic, and basically that's all that matters to me; also, I don't tend to bring all these preconceptions to stories like 'this is what it should be like' (ie, less family life in a 'spy movie', stick to the spies?) if it works to explain things or show things. Ahh, sometimes I think people are too transparent about their own personalities... it's sort of pitiful when they don't realize it and think naturally they're merely right, I guess. -.-;
    What's really pathetic, though, is how many simple facts I still remember from watching the movie that the reviews got wrong. Seriously, wtf. -.- All of this just makes me pessimistic and sad about how well (or really not well) people do at understanding the motivations of those they don't understand yet obviously think they do. *sigh* And the movie's even about that, somewhat, too.


reenka: (Default)

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