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Jordan Hoffman’s “‘Prisoners’ Review” Is Cutesy and Unconvincing

In response to Jordan Hoffman’s 609‑word review of Prisoners on ScreenCrush

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When a review starts with a snarky comment about a character’s fashion sense rather than, for instance, getting to the point, it is a sure sign to the reader not to take the reviewer too seriously. Jordon Hoffman’s “‘PRISONERS’ REVIEW” commits this very crime, undercutting Hoffman’s credibility right out of the gate.

Sure enough, the rest of the review is just as tone deaf, using a lighthearted, casual style that would be better suited for a comedy rather than a dark, gritty crime thriller.

The sentence structure is just as loose, making such liberal use of dashes that even Emily Dickinson would shake her head in consternation. Hoffman uses every tool of the amateur’s trade: an ellipsis, exclamation marks, even italics. Any one of these things by itself might be forgivable, but when combined together they form a Voltron of dilettantism.

“‘PRISONERS’ REVIEW” is not all bad. Hoffman explores both the films strengths and its flaws, and ends up with a balanced review of the subject. He seems to really have an understanding of the subtleties of the movie and, for that matter, some of the unsubtleties. With some editing and a hint more seriousness, this review could have been a contender.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation