I try not to read much criticism before I watch a film. I love reading it but not necessarily to see if I should see something. I prefer to use my own judgement on whether a film’s worth it. But I do like reading it afterwards. For one thing, you might get a different insight on what you’ve just watched. I know it’s not really the point of reviews but I don’t want to be swayed by somebody else’s opinion. And it’s good practice to help avoid spoilers. Most reviews are fine but these days film criticism has moved beyond just giving you an opinion. It’s all about getting that word count up so some people use their platform to reveal most if not all of the plot. It’s ridiculous. But I’m getting distracted. The point I wanted to make was this: so many people seem to have been criticising Sam Mendes’ film for not being a true single-shot movie. They’ve complained that it’s too obvious where the edits are and some have even described it as “distracting”. I have to sigh. Do we know the cuts are there? Yes. Does it make the whole thing any less impressive? No freaking way.
There was a lot of criticism following the announcement of the Oscar nominations this month. A lot of it, quite rightly, pointed out the lack of female directors and the awful lack of diversity on display. Some of it was less helpful. I saw one person on Twitter moan that 1917 had been nominated because there have already been too many World War One films. I believe the person in question actually asked: “why do we keep telling that story?” Yeah, why do we keep banging on about history? It’s already happened. It’s not like it’s important. Let’s make films about important things like The Rock and Jason Statham driving really fast cars. Although, I’ve never actually seen any of The Fast and the Furious franchise, so I’m not one to judge. The main reason being that I suspect I’d end up really liking them. Fast cars, guns, explosions, it all appeals to my inner 12-year-old boy. But I mustn’t get distracted. This is about 1917. Really, the guy answered his own question by asking it. We still need to keep telling this story when idiots fail to understand why it’s vital to keep telling it. I’m reminded of Joss Whedon’s response to the question “why do you write such strong female characters?” The answer? “Because you’re still asking me that question.”