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Justin Chang’s “Gravity” Should Have Quit While Ahead

In response to Justin Chang’s 1479‑word review of Gravity on Variety

By ,

Justin Chang takes up more than half of his “Venice Film Review: ‘Gravity’” extolling the virtues of a single image. The other half is just a run-on sentence.

When the reader finds out that this isn’t the case—he simply read the bold overview separated by a distracting call to action—he wishes it were. A poor presentation is the least of this review’s problems, which is in fact a distended, name-dropping, referential 1500 word Titanic.

Readers are advised to remember the fate of the ship.

1500 words. The review’s equivalent of Joyce’s Ulysses, only without anything new or exciting to contribute to the art form. Long-form reviews, in the instances where they are successful, must captivate to the point of transcendence. Chang instead oversteps his boundaries as a creator in a plodding and indulgent narrative that adds little to the body of work this Gravity season.

VFR: G says too much in every sense. It strongly hints at the fate of certain important characters, each in turn. It draws parallels to other works that clearly undermine some visual surprises. It spouts off about things better left unspouted.

One fortunate thing about this epically swollen work is that it’s inconceivable to think of the audience actually making it through to the end. An inappropriately short review would have been far preferable.

The emphatic recommendation to avoid seems both appropriate yet unnecessary.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation