Chris Bumbray’s “REVIEW: GRAVITY” Is Messy, Pedestrian Fare
By Rochus Pomponius, Adjunct Critic
Veteran Chris Bumbray’s “REVIEW: GRAVITY (TIFF 2013)” reads like it was written by a college roommate: breaking fourth walls, ignoring grammatical conventions, and jumping around erratically.
From the first, the reader is subjected to an inappropriately ebullient work that doesn’t manage expectations in the slightest. Every setup begins with more amazing news. It becomes tiresome to hear how everything is brilliantly or beautifully played, superbly conveyed, ad infinitum.
(It’s not a question of sincerity, it’s one of style: there are simply better methods to employ in terms of manipulating one’s audience.)
Bumbray’s conversational style has been established over his long career as a critic, and it’s generally worked well for him. In REVIEW: GRAVITY he comes across as pedestrian. A few references directly to the reader break the fourth wall, likely drawing audiences out of the moment. In one instance, the author even refers to himself in the first person—fine only in exceptional cases, and sadly out of place here.
REVIEW: GRAVITY is entirely non-linear, jumping at one to a thought it had visited only briefly before without establishing context. It’s easy to see the critic’s excitement, but it’s impossible to see the craft.
The presentation is incredibly distracting, making it difficult to even focus on Bumbray’s work.
With myriad aberrant hyphens, a misplaced colon, and an initialism left confusingly uncapitalized, REVIEW: GRAVITY nails its own coffin shut. There are better reviews and—until Bumbray returns to the form of his earlier and more careful work—better reviewers.