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Leonard Maltin’s “Nebraska” Is Short but Sweet

In response to Leonard Maltin’s 377‑word review of Nebraska on Leonard Maltin's Picks

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The reviews Leonard Maltin does for his (poorly named) site, Movie Crazy, are brisk, light and almost always under 400 words.  

In another, (less pithy) critic’s hands, this would spell disaster, but Maltin is a seasoned pro whose prodigious skill can still work wonders even within this shortened format.

For instance, Maltin recognizes the fact that filling a short review with a ponderous recap of the plot will only rob space from what reader’s really want: critique.

Maltin rightfully shaves the synopsis down to one concise sentence (something rehash-happy critics would do well do study), leaving plenty of space to offer insight.

And offer insight he does, eloquently and methodically analyzing the film for giving viewers “characters we rarely see onscreen: real people who are utterly ordinary” and a tone that’s “so different from other American films.”

Everything in the film works for Maltin, from the “Phedon Papamichael’s fresh, black & white cinematography to Mark Orton’s evocative score. Stacy Keach, Bob Odenkirk, and feisty June Squibb head a first-rate supporting cast, while Bruce Dern gives the subtlest and richest performance of his long career.”

This is a beautiful study in artistic precision and Maltin absolutely puts on a clinic, proving that short can be sweet.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation