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David Edelstein’s “Torturous” Is a Brief Splash of Bile

In response to David Edelstein’s 468‑word review of Prisoners on New York Magazine

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Critic David Edelstein gets right to the point with the title of his review of the movie Prisoners: “Torturous.” In a single word he sums up the sheer agony he endured watching a movie he *meta-spoiler alert* does not hold in very high esteem. It’s quite impossible to discuss “Torturous” without discussing Edelstein’s disdain for Prisoners, because that’s all that he presents. There is no balance here, no exploration of the things the film does right. Just vitriol. At 468 words, perhaps Edelstein did not have room to provide any counterpoints, but the sheer animosity he expresses in this relatively brief review make it clear that even had he been working with a larger canvas, he still would have been painting all with the same color.

Edelstein is typically a more thoughtful critic than this, and it’s disappointing to see him put so little apparent effort into “Torturous.” He picked a subject that other critics likely would have tackled with a bit more craft, and gave an embarrassingly one-note performance.

Perhaps he was having a bad day, or perhaps he just genuinely had nothing nice to say about Prisoners. Either way, this review is too brief for Edelstein to back up his claims of mental anguish at having to endure the film. “Torturous” is, at best, a lesson in self-martyrdom.    

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