Why it’s not all about the big shot reviews (or: “Nev, it’s nothing personal…”)

I’m a subscriber to both Empire and Total Film. They’re both fantastic, informative magazines that score high points for sheer entertainment value. Of course, I enjoy reading them, and I love that as I read, my knowledge of film, my boffery if you like (I don’t), almost perceptibly increases. But more than that, I get a kick out of every instance of poor journalism that jumps off the page at me. Partly it amuses me, and partly it niggles that such high profile magazines still host some awful writers.

Here’s a case study from Empire. It’s a review of Inception. It reads like a first, pompous draft in which Nev Pierce, described as Empire’s ‘Editor-at-large’ (translations welcome), is evidently struggling to express just how confounded he was after Chris Nolan had battered around his psyche. Indeed, he was so confused, it appears he couldn’t write a coherent article. Maybe he was high. It certainly reads like he could have been.

“Marvel at the effrontery of a filmmaker who asks you to emotionally invest in avowed mental construct”…

More jaffa cakes, Nev? Not only is the review more convoluted than the film, but the chances are it’ll have your average Die Hard fan reaching for a dictionary. That’s no reflection of Die Hard fans, hell, even Pierce thought he needed to explain himself:

“Obfuscation masquerading as artistry, aka not half as bloody clever as it thinks it is”…

I hope he doesn’t miss the irony of that statement, but I think he might have.

“For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come?”

Nev, next time you’re reviewing a blockbuster, steer clear of the Hamlet quotes, eh? In fact, refrain from all Shakespeare – time and place, you know? It would afterall be embarrassing to be accused of the ‘showboating’ that you praise DiCaprio for avoiding. Frankly, I just wanted to know if it was a good film, worth a watch, a little bit of background maybe. I wasn’t expecting a multi-page thesis.

Read the whole article (linked above) to understand exactly why it wound me up.

In the massively unlikely event you’re reading this Nev – it’s nothing personal. In fact, if you’re hiring over at Empire, I’d love to discuss our differences…

Until then: Empire. Total Film. Up your game.

Inception is a terrific movie, released on blu-ray and DVD on the 6th December 2010.

2 Replies to “Why it’s not all about the big shot reviews (or: “Nev, it’s nothing personal…”)”

  1. What is the point of this piece? This is sour. I want the time spent reading it back. Ugh. Talk about leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I think it’s due to the acrid (sorry, is that word too big for you?) stench of bitter whinery that is coming off your post.

  2. I thought this post was observant, witty and hilarious. Why the serious reaction Bram? The point seems to be that high profile magazines allow silly writing to slip into their pages. This is not a bitter or sour post for me, but rather a good point well made.

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