Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Having it Both Ways

Jeff Percifield writes the Beautiful Atrocities blog. Today, Jeff has a fantastic entry where he has compiled a list of blurbs written by reviewers who have written about both "Farenheit 9/11" and "The Passion of the Christ."

[A huge hat tip to James Taranto, who comments "the results are often hilarious, as the critics laud Moore for the same reasons they damned Gibson."]

A sampling:

A.O. Scott, New York Times:
F9/11: Mr. Moore's populist instincts have never been sharper...he is a credit to the republic.

Passion: Gibson has exploited the popular appetite for terror and gore for what he and his allies see as a higher end.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe:
F9/11: Should be seen because it takes off the gloves and wades into the fray, because it synthesizes the anti-Bush argument like no other work before it, and because it forces you to decide for yourself exactly where passion starts to warp point of view.

Passion: If you come seeking theological subtlety, let alone such modern inventions as psychological depth, you'll walk away battered and empty-handed
David Edelstein, Slate:
F9/11: After the screening, a friend railed that Moore was exploiting a mother's grief. I suggested that the scene made moral sense in the context of the director's universe, that the exploitation is justified if it saves the lives of other mothers' sons.

Passion: A two-hour-and-six-minute snuff movie—The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre—that thinks it's an act of faith.
Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle:
F9/11: (Moore) is an indispensable treasure, and his imperfections are part of the reason, because they mark him as real.

Passion: It's awful because everything he knows about storytelling has been swept aside by proselytizing zeal.
Geoff Pevre, Toronto Star:
F9/11: A plea for America's deliverance ... it may not be an argument one agrees with, and it may be unbalanced and propagandistic, but it is both convincingly argued and sincerely motivated.

Passion: A work of fundamentalist pornography.
James Rocchi, Netflix:
F9/11: None of this is pretty. But it is real, in a way that we rarely get from major news outlets.

A horrifyingly violent, grisly film about state-sponsored torture and execution.
David Sterrit, Christian Science Monitor:
F9/11: Is the label "documentary" appropriate for this openly activist movie? Of course it is, unless you cling to some idealized notion of "objective" film.

Passion: The highly selective screenplay includes only a few of Jesus' words, spoken in occasional flashback scenes.
James Verniere, Boston Herald:
F9/11: At a time when the film industry is turning out sugarcoated, content-free junk, Moore has given American viewers a renewed taste for raw meat.

Passion: An exercise in sadomasochistic bullying.
See Jeff's post for the complete list.

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