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Laura Clifford’s “‘Prisoners’” Is an Unpleasant Blast From the Past

In response to Laura Clifford’s 888‑word review of Prisoners on Reeling Reviews

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Set in a 1990’s website, Laura Clifford’s “‘Prisoners‘” is an unsatisfying, (sometimes literally) verbatim description of a movie she feels strongly about, yet she does not back up her reasoning, leading to a poor quality review.

The most striking thing about Clifford’s (who reviews movies with her husband Robin) site is the antiquity of it. Long, full-width-of-the-screen paragraphs with a tiled background of film reels cause the eyes to water. The sounds of a dial-up modem mysteriously fill the reader’s mind. One is happy the site was created long before pop-up ads became de rigueur. But, to be clear, the absence of the pop-up ads are the review’s only breath of fresh air.

After reciting the pedigrees of all the film’s major players, Clifford spends the vast bulk of the work reciting the movie in straightforward, point A-to-point B fashion, barreling forward into spoiler territory with abandon.  There is no warning. She jumps right in leaving little doubt about the film’s mysteries.  

To her credit, Clifford does come clean about how she ultimately feels about the film. But, that is not enough to carry this one. This review is only for readers who have an exam on the film in the next five minutes, and they forgot to study.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation