Monday, January 25, 2010

Roger Ebert

Removed from the grind of television and in recovery from cancer surgery Roger Ebert has become a deep, introspective blogger and writer. Apart from somehow loving Avatar, I think he's become a better film reviewer too. Here's how he begins his review of The Lovely Bones:

"The Lovely Bones is a deplorable film with this message: If you're a 14-year-old girl who has been brutally raped and murdered by a serial killer, you have a lot to look forward to. You can get together in heaven with the other teenage victims of the same killer, and gaze down in benevolence upon your family members as they mourn you and realize what a wonderful person you were. Sure, you miss your friends, but your fellow fatalities come dancing to greet you in a meadow of wildflowers, and how cool is that?

The makers of this film seem to have given slight thought to the psychology of teenage girls, less to the possibility that there is no heaven, and none at all to the likelihood that if there is one, it will not resemble a happy gathering of new Facebook friends. In its version of the events, the serial killer can almost be seen as a hero for liberating these girls from the tiresome ordeal of growing up and dispatching them directly to the Elysian Fields. The film's primary effect was to make me squirmy. It's based on the best-seller by Alice Sebold that everybody seemed to be reading a couple of years ago. I hope it's not faithful to the book; if it is, millions of Americans are scary. The murder of a young person is a tragedy, the murderer is a monster, and making the victim a sweet, poetic narrator is creepy. This movie sells the philosophy that even evil things are God's will, and their victims are happier now. Isn't it nice to think so. I think it's best if they don't happen at all. But if they do, why pretend they don't hurt? Those girls are dead."
Brilliant, eh? Ebert's post on no longer being able to eat food or drink has rightly become a recent blogging classic. The fact that he mentions one of Cormac McCarthy's lesser known (and one of my favourite) novels Suttree in it is all to the good, although Roger and I are very different people - the scene that sticks in my mind from that book is the, er, incident in the melon patch.