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Harvey S. Karten’s “PRISONERS” Is Truly Avant-Garde

In response to Harvey S. Karten’s 751‑word review of Prisoners on Compuserve

By ,

You have to hand it to Harvey S. Karten: it takes a real courage of your convictions to stick to a premise this breathtakingly counter-cultural.

Imagine a reviewer in 2013 publishing his review on a Compuserve forum with the Netscape logo emblazoned on the top. It’s the film critic equivalent of riding a vintage unicycle down to the local artisinal mustachery for a good facial hair waxing. Who even does that in this day and age? Harvey S. Karten does, and he does it unapologetically.

His “PRISONERS” is a rejection of the modern, a fly in the ointment of the film review establishment, a finger in the eye of the norms of grammatical correctness and analytical cohesiveness.

Eschewing the glossy corporate sheen that makes so many modern reviews tedious and uniform, no different in artistic value from the woefully whitebread music selection at your local Starbuck’s, Karten leaves a rough edge to his writing, like confusing the words “motive” and “motif” or “than” and “that.” It’s a bold move, and bound to ruffle the feathers of The Man.

Unfortunately, I am bound by my editor to grade “PRISONERS” using a conventional value system based on the assumption that all reviews should have the same cookie cutter aesthetics. As such, I must give it very poor marks indeed, because it’s just too bold to do otherwise.

“Prisoners” is a review so behind the times it’s ahead of the times, a true avante-garde masterpiece.    

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