17 February 2009
This is my third attempt at this review. I'm a little bit stonewalled. I'm not sure if there's actually much I can say about this film. There's some good acting, it's directed decently, and the story is relatively interesting. I'm just not sure it works, for whatever that means. Whatever sympathy it was trying to garner for the main character, it didn't get it from me.
Perhaps the main thing I'd criticize about this film is something that's becoming more and more prevalent in films today. I'm talking about non-linear narrative structure. In fact, all five of the best picture nominees are structured this way. The strongest of the bunch, Milk, utilizes this to the least extent. In The Reader, it reaches almost a fever pitch. While Ralph Fiennes is capable enough to carry his portion of the story, what is the purpose? This may seem like a very shallow question to ask, I think it's valid. I think that what started out as innovative turned into a gimmick and has now become so commonplace that it's lost whatever spark it might have had. What's really the point of showing us the end of the story first? Sometimes it can work, don't get me wrong, but nowadays it seems like it would be stronger to write a linear story and have to keep the suspense going the old fashioned way.
So that's not much of a review, but it's more in tune with what I want my entries to be. I want the films to spark forays into larger discussions.