Maybe it’s just bad luck, bad timing of DVD rental choices, or my imagination. Because, if not, it’s an epidemic; this whole bouncing around in time technique in many “serious” movies. I’m looking around for someone to blame and wondering if Quentin Tarrentino isn’t one of the prime suspects.
I recently watched one movie, otherwise so unmemorable I can’t remember its title, in which there were three ‘resets’ of the same scene in the movie – yeah, it had exactly the same scene, from exactly the same camera angle played a total of twice too many time. I mean, when does Hollywood Central release the bulletin that some things have moved from cutting edge through trendy, and are now resting easy in the cliche department?
Babel. Time shifting (plus) disparate plot threads weaving “inexhortably” (equals) one of the most non-eventful and meaningless endings in memory. I suspect time shifting was the device used to cloak the basic non-viability of the storyline to begin with. As sort of a review, I thought through the story that might have been told in a standard narrative way. Guess what? Pretty thin gruel. I guess the time machine churning was intended to compensate for that. I’m tempted to think they misspelled the title, which really could have been “Babble”.
I think the device of asynchronous storytelling suffers from the same dynamic Warren Buffett describes as symptomatic of most new ideas: First the innovators, then the imitators, and then the bumbling incompetents. Lord knows, Hollywood film making is an easy enough target for criticism, but when techniques no longer supplement story lines, rather substitute for them, the bar will have been lowered far enough to make limbo impossible. Maybe the bright side of Hollywood’s evolution is that, as story lines are eliminated, avatars will replace human actors, too, taking another parasitic species off the planet.
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