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Manohla Dargis Talks Good and Evil in “Wildlife Is Tame”

In response to Manohla Dargis’s 937‑word review of The Counselor on New York Times 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/25/movies/the-counselor-a-cormac-mccarthy-tale-of-mostly-evil.html?smid=tw-nytmovies&seid=auto

By Marcus Julianus, Associate Critic

Manohla Dargis offers up a classic bit of film critique in “Wildlife Is Tame; Not the Humans”, eloquently dissecting Ridley Scott’s new film with the finesse of a great artist. She treats her calling with the utmost care and respect, taking her time to get it right and that attention to detail makes for a work of tremendous depth.

Dargis works like a blacksmith here, forging her arguments in the fires of literary and film history, shaping and reshaping them into pointed ideas that stand up to scrutiny and give the reader insights that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

This is a writer of supreme confidence giving the world a piece that is wonderfully free of showy vocabulary and flashy phrases that sound great but ring hollow. Dargis instead uses simple language to methodically build complex ideas and make a case for a film of “clarity, solidity and stillness.”

Her art here falls more in the category of filmic journalism than simple review. She eschews the typical structure (a cutesy one-liner, a plot rehash, and finally, a sentence or two of critique) and instead uses her platform to discuss ideas and that’s a welcome reprieve in today’s landscape of film critique.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation

Marcus Julianus was born and raised in Byzantium, where he spent his youth herding goats and making cheese. As a gatekeeper of the review world, Marcus offers his background in poetry and drama to opine on the work of the film critics.