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Stephen Farber’s “Prisoners: Telluride Review” Hits All the Right Notes

In response to Stephen Farber’s 937‑word review of Prisoners on Hollywood Reporter

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With “Prisoners: Telluride Review,” critic Stephen Farber shows his mastery of all the elements that go into making a good review, fitting them together in a way in which they all complement each other nicely. He hits all the necessary beats, with each one having its own distinct paragraph: the movie’s background, a hint of its plot, an exploration of its themes etc. He flows from one point to the next, never lingering too long and never giving any aspect of the review short shrift.

Farber’s prose is never flowery. It is direct and to the point. At times it can seem almost utilitarian, perhaps lacking in the sort of stylistic flourishes one would expect of a true auteur. However, it is never clumsy and never colloquial, and he keeps the pace moving so efficiently that it’s hard to find fault with his execution. It is also blessedly free of the self-seriousness that plagues some of the more self-indulgent reviewers’ works.

In the end, “Prisoners: Telluride Review” is a joy to read. It effectively communicates everything that Farber finds praiseworthy about its subject, and does so without ever getting bogged down in confusing tangents or unnecessary details. For those who appreciate a movie review that doesn’t waste their time, it is an easy recommendation.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation