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Antonia Quirke’s “Maximum Security Might” Offers Scant Analysis

In response to Antonia Quirke’s 149‑word review of Escape Plan on Financial Times

By ,

Ms. Quirke, we hardly knew ye. Antonia Quirke manages to offer three disparate opinions in her 150-word “Escape Plan—film review: Schwarzenegger and Stallone take on the might of a maximum-security prison,” a work whose title is more substantial than its analysis.

Moments, not movies, are reviewed in this bite-sized bit of critical calamity that manages to eke out a few haphazard vignettes that, while illustrative, come across as cherry-picking.

Readers have very little to go upon, given the brevity of the work, and will crave far more consequential and entertaining fare.  Maximum-Security Might doesn’t even scratch the surface of the popular (and underrated) review-in-brief format adopted by some of the form’s heavy-weights, settling for six conclusionless sentences.

Although Quirke has never been especially wordy, Maximum-Security Might bucks convention arbitrarily and offers her audience far fewer chewy bits than they’ll have come to expect from the competent critic. Simply by affording the work more time, she may have been able to deliver a solid (if not noteworthy) piece, ripe for inclusion in her brilliant back-catalogue.

Nevertheless, judging this work on its own merit is an exercise in futility. There’s something there, no doubt. But it’s not enough. Readers will leave Maximum-Security Might having gained precious little, and having lost a few moments of their lives.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation