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Nick McCarthy’s “Gravity Review” Tries (And Fails) to Impress

In response to Nick McCarthy’s 624‑word review of Gravity on Slant Magazine 

http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/2013/10/toronto-international-film-festival-2013-gravity-review

By ,

From its very first sentence, Nick McCarthy’s “Toronto International Film Festival 2013: Gravity Review” is an exercise in adjectival offense, and it remains that way for more than 600 words.

In the interest of fairness, it’s worth noting foremost that McCarthy does indeed review a film in his film review, and for that he deserves credit. But introducing audiences to TIFF 2013 and not offering them a copy of the OED is offensive.

Throughout TIFF 2013 it’s unclear whether word choice and wordplay are intentional. The journey into a “quasi-existential” abyss finds McCarthy grappling with times when “the disparity of spectacle over substance was respectable,” which takes nearly ten seconds to read aloud and twice as long to unpack.

McCarthy clearly takes his medium seriously, and is to be commended for it, but he also takes himself quite seriously. Wilde said “to reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.” The proclivity for excess tends to do the opposite, which is a shame for such a brilliant wordsmith.

There’s something here for someone, but not everyone. Perhaps this was the artist’s intention; if so, then his dubious mission was realized. If not, it feels very hollow indeed.

The best examples of the form both enlighten and entertain. TIFF 2013‘s nauseating display of obscure adjectives accomplishes only the first, and just barely, and apparently by accident.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation