David M. Brown's Blog

September 15, 2012

The condescending bad critic

Filed under: Media and journalism,Movies — davidmbrowndotcom @ 8:17 am

Tim Roby’s review of the third installment of the “Millennium” trilogy is another of many instances of ludicrously snot-nosed takes on good movies.

What is the point of working as a critic if one feels obliged to refrain from honest and duly diligent critical analysis? If it’s too much hard work, become a novelist or brain surgeon or something.

Criticism is not inherently inferior to artistic creation–that depends on who is doing either job. In the work of some writers, the artistry and criticism are one. It’s the critics who regard snark as a substitute for insight and objectivity who give criticism a bad name. There are also gooey critics who glow with enthusiasm for films that don’t deserve the praise. They too are wearisome. The problem isn’t too-negative or too-positive assessment, but critically deficient assessment.

The evidence that I don’t merely disagree with an honest and well-considered view comes from Roby himself, when in conclusion he allows that “the film is carried forward with pace and style, and both Nyqvist and Rapace retain the unusual charisma that forces the viewer to take them seriously.” This, after we’ve been told that both the heroine and the plot suffer from whiplash in this installment, that much of the movie plays “like bad Thomas Harris,” etc. It’s possible for a work to be a mixture of good and bad elements. But no nits one could pick with “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest” could justify a review nine tenths of the column inches of which consist of concocted complaints utterly belied by that little bit of inadvertently honest text at the end.

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