Thursday, November 05, 2009


I gave Precious a positive review for the blistering performances alone, but I love Armond White's review. White has a reputation as being a contrarian (see this incredible chart, and this for more background), esp. w/ regard to Brian de Palma films and race-related Hollywood productions, and he wrote a deliriously loony shredding of District 9, my favorite movie of the year. If I remember correctly, he was in the same screening of Precious where I saw the film, back during the NYFF -- he cuts a fairly distinctive figure, with his distinguished graying beard and his cane.

Worse than Precious itself was the ordeal of watching it with an audience full of patronizing white folk at the New York Film Festival, then enduring its media hoodwink as a credible depiction of black American life. A scene such as the hippopotamus-like teenager climbing a K-2 incline of tenement stairs to present her newborn, incest-bred baby to her unhinged virago matriarch, might have been met howls of skeptical laughter at Harlem’s Magic Johnson theater.



alan rossi said...

wow indeed. i mean, i'm going to see it, but i've been wary about all the stellar reviews, just based on how the plot and characters are meant to work in a supposed drama. i liked your review because you called the film a horror movie. as along as it can be viewed as a horror movie, then it can have truly "evil" characters, which the mom seems to be. otherwise, if it's a drama, i'd say it can't have evil characters as that would kill the drama's sense of "reality." the drama would seem contrived, the characters flat, etc, and the fetishism of this lifestyle would be on display rather than a story about people.

it's a pretty interesting review of District 9, too. i liked that movie, but didn't love it. i went in with huge expectations though, not necessary to say what here. i felt the political and racial symbolism were pretty heavy-handed and somewhat dismissive of the actual culture, but then, it was sort of fun and i suppose it was trying to put a positive message out there. so yeah, maybe this guy just likes the wicked review? he writes them really well.

N A said...

Interesting--I'd actually say it's shot like a horror movie (in many scenes) but the narrative construction is more melodrama.

alan rossi said...

ah, okay. should've reread your review. still, cool that it's shot like a horror movie. want to see what that does for it...