April 20, 2007

Black Book. Again.

Black Book "As someone who undervalued the political smarts of Basic Instinct and Showgirls when they first appeared, I'm probably not the best one to fault others for not taking [Paul] Verhoeven seriously, but I still have to say that, ethically speaking, Black Book seems far less vulgar than a feel-good Holocaust movie like Schindler's List," writes Jonathan Rosenbaum in the Chicago Reader. "In fact, part of what I admire about Black Book is how it offers a kind of bracing rebuke to Schindler's List, providing a much darker vision that refuses to let its audience off the hook so easily, though ostensibly it's more fictional."

"Within 30 seconds of meeting Verhoeven, it's immediately apparent that the potent and sometimes uncontrolled life force that pulses through his films comes directly from him," writes Sam Adams in the Philadelphia City Paper. Also: "In some ways, Black Book is a dangerous movie, but it's the right kind of dangerous."

The LA Weekly's Ella Taylor might disagree: "[W]e live in dodgy critical times when aesthetic sophistication trumps moral and political discrimination. And when pop aestheticism reaches all the way from effusing over the ritualized violence and reverse feminism of a Sin City or a Grindhouse to heaping laurels on a movie that pits sensitive Nazis against treacherous resisters, it may be time to get uncool and start pointing the finger."

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Posted by dwhudson at April 20, 2007 7:15 AM


How can you fault a movie where the female protagonist washes dirt off her highheels in a toilet bowl?

Posted by: Michael Guillen at April 20, 2007 9:21 AM

Ella Taylor has never proven to be anything but a nitwit in her reviews for LA Weekly. Time and time again she proves her blindness for subtlety and calculation - preferring syrup flicks and hopelessly limp art films (her review of 9 Songs was particularly embarrassing). I read her sad little diatribe last night as I was off to bed and it kept me up an additional 15 minutes I was so annoyed. I mean, we're talking about a woman who claimed she laughed through The Piano Teacher. Should one really look to her for guidance?

Posted by: Bradford at April 20, 2007 12:53 PM

Heavens, where to begin.

Well: I disagree. I don't really look to reviewers for guidance in the first place, but secondly, reading as many reviews as I do... it can become a slog. But I can tell you: just about literally, when I see her byline, I can feel my face light up. I settle in and read slow.

Posted by: David Hudson at April 20, 2007 1:17 PM

I have to agree with poster Bradford. She may do good stuff occasionally, but she's really uneven. Sometimes she just...doesn't...get/engage with a movie.

Posted by: Lisa at April 21, 2007 8:58 AM

Well, to each his/her own, obviously. We can agree to disagree and, in the meantime, follow the discussion going on at David Poland's Hot Blog.

Posted by: David Hudson at April 21, 2007 9:29 AM