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Fred Topel’s “Tiff 2013 Review: Prisoners” Is a Lesson in Why Some People Hate Critics

In response to Fred Topel’s 773‑word review of Prisoners on CraveOnline

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Critic Fred Topel begins his “TIFF 2013 Review: Prisoners” by stating that he was predisposed to dislike the movie he was reviewing before he had even started watching it. He should have just stopped right there, because if his approach to film criticism is to prejudge a movie based on his own biases, preconceptions, or maybe even just foul moods, then he has no business writing movie reviews at all.

There are some people who believe that critics are cynical and mean-spirited hacks who write reviews because they‘re incapable of the level of art and craftsmanship in the things they are reviewing. That is not the case with many good critics. Good critics love what they are writing about. They have genuine enthusiasm that they want to share with their readers, and when they put pen to paper or finger to keyboard they are, in a way, creating their own work of art. This is not to say that they love every work they review, however they at least respect each one enough to give it a fair chance.

Topel displays no respect for his subject in “TIFF 2013 Review: Prisonsers,” only an almost pathological disdain. It is a cynical, mean-spirited look at a film that, good or bad, deserved a fairer shake.    

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