Steven Broomfield, on 27 November 2011 - 09:44 PM, said:
Reluctant though I am to put any film by Steven Spielberg under the heading of "Culture", I felt this article in today's Tottygraph
worthy of note:
I have yet to see a Speilberg movie that left me with anything but distaste: ET
was mawkish claptrap, Close Encounters
a befuddled fairy tale. Saving Private Ryan
was so-so up to the last reel, at which point it descended into pure schmaltz, and Schindler's List
was the worst kind of emotional string-pulling.
Now, I have never read War Horse
, nor have I seen the play, so I am unqualified to comment on the primary source for this film, but I have to say that history would seem to indicate a wallow in the saccharine to the n
I have no idea if I'll go to see this film, but I suspect as an historical record it will beat Downton Abbey
into a cocked-hat for anorak-itis. Just don't have a large meal before you go would be my advice.
I'm with you. I despise Spielberg. The only good war movie he made was Empire of the Sun,
which he has essentially disavowed because so much of it was morally ambiguous and because he used J. G. Ballard's novel as the script. It may be the most faithful film adaption of a novel ever made.
The actor Crispin Glover says that Spielberg simulates taking risks. I agree. I find that his movies simulate emotion with overwrought schmaltz. I much prefer the elegant approach of A Very Long Engagement,
which presumed an intelligence and artistic appreciation in the audience that Spielberg feels we don't have.
I won't see War Horse.
I hated Saving Private Ryan,
which had superb special effects but left me utterly cold as a story about humans. I also hated Schindler's List
because of the ghastly ending--not the color images of the old folks marching toward the camera, but the speechifying and grovelling that Liam Neeson did before he drove away. The real Oskar Schindler never explained his motives. That level of ambiguity would've made the movie a masterpiece, but Spielberg has to spell everything out for us and reduce everything to a child's understanding.
We don't need any more war movies that tell us how horrible war is. Spielberg once knew that, as exemplified by the scene in Empire of the Sun
of the P-51 Mustangs strafing the camp. Incredible beauty and horror all at once, without some grim schlub of an actor lecturing us on how war is bad and makes him sad and mad. Things should be allowed to speak for themselves. The cartoonish level of manipulation isn't necessary.
Or it wasn't, years ago. The scene in The Best Years of Our Lives,
in which the double amputee, Homer, finally reveals his stumps to his girlfriend in an effort to drive her away, but she tells him she doesn't care and still wants to marry him? One of the most powerful moments in cinematic history. Devastating in its simplicity.
I'm tired of epics and yelling. I want stories about people. Is that so hard?