Re: The Elusiveness Of Cinematic Greatness.
The worst example of Ebert's meandering during a review might be his 2-1/2 star review for 'Deliverance', which contrasts the film with a real-life tale, but devotes almost the ENTIRE review to the true story and almost nothing to the film's actual artistic merits. Hell, even the source novel threatens to receive more space than the film itself.
I agree with Cook on his #3, since there will always be, no matter how you try, a preference towards some genres, themes, and tones that affect each viewer differently. Some people watch a good number of dark films over light comedies, since they're more rare (at least at the local cineplex), and even a middling downbeat film might inspire more interest in that viewer than a truly diverting romantic comedy. That's just how it is for some people. I almost immediately become more involved in a drama than I ever am with a thriller, for example.
Evenflow, which other Boorman films do you recommend? Deliverance is the only one I've seen.
is uneven, but extremely visceral. It has a brute strength which makes the viewing compelling even though some of it is borderline incoherent. It's worth watch if you have a taste for medieval flicks, but it falls well below the standards of Boorman's best work.Point Blank
is fine genre film, which at times escapes genre restraints and moves you. The characters aren't necessarily noble, but Boorman's unique sensibilities make the film morally ambiguous and often very thrilling. It's a recognized classic, and deservedly so.
Hope and Glory
would be the one film that might challenge Deliverance
for the title of this best film (I feel it falls a few notches short), as it is stunningly well-made and executed. Whether or not you enjoy the central conceit of a boy living a life of luxury during wartime (which, nevertheless, feels like an honest evocation of what World War II mist have felt like to Boorman in his childhood), it is a very compelling, albeit quite nostalgic, work of a director who feels a keen, even intuitive, connection with his material.
The rest of his films vary from 'good' to 'who cares?', except for The General
, which is consistently quite good but never great.