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R. Kurt Osenlund’s “Nebraska” Takes a Long Time to Not Get to the Point

In response to R. Kurt Osenlund’s 1069‑word review of Nebraska on Slant Magazine 

http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/nebraska

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There are many questions left unanswered by the end of R. Kurt Osenlund’s “Nebraska,” but the most important one by far is “So… is the movie any good?” That’s a question that would go almost entirely unanswered if it weren’t for the star rating preceding the review. With the review being over 1,000 words long, that’s a rather glaring omission.

What audiences get in lieu of a concrete opinion of the movie’s quality is a meandering, almost impressionistic take on the film. The discussion of plot dominates the proceedings, with only occasional character development to supplement it.

There are certainly a lot of words. Osenlund seems to be in love with his own prose. But sometimes a reviewer has to take a step back from his prose and ask the question: Did I get to the point? If Osenlund had done so with his “Nebraska,” and had been honest with himself when he did so, the answer would be a resounding “no.”

It’s a shame, too, because Osenlund’s prose is quite lush and even beautiful at times. The review itself is not at all unpleasant to read. But again, it fails to accomplish the basic task of a film review, which is to, you know, review the film. That oversight is its critical flaw, and will ensure that it is ultimately left in the margins of film review history.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation