Che vs. There Will Be Blood – The Risks of Experimentation

Much like the writers and directors that we poor scorn upon for their predictability, critics are ultimately a lazy breed.  Some critics, thanks to greater levels of insight and more erudition have a larger conceptual toolbox than others, but no matter how loaded down you become with diagnostic tools, you are still going to reach for some more frequently than you reach for others.  If a film is a character study then you write about psychology.  If a film is about the cinematography then you talk about the visual and emotional impact.  If the film is about the plot, you write about pacing and narrative structure.  Write about enough books and films and you start to get a pretty clear idea of how to tackle certain types of work.  However, there are times when you encounter a film or a book that is unlike anything you have encountered before.  A work which, no matter how cynical or lazy you might be, has you repeating Roy Scheider’s line from Jaws (1975) : “We’re gonna need a bigger boat”.

Continue reading →