Wednesday, September 02, 2020


So many of the straight shots have no atmosphere; the stage sets were left to do the work. Maybe not his call, and Hollywood wanted to show off their money. The framing is blocky. Like Burton's Batman, which hasn't aged well, though I want to see Batman Returns again for the tragedy of DeVito's Penguin. And there are shots that hold on characters after they speak: Prochnow ends up looking like he doesn't know what to do, when the delay implies he should be like a statue. Lynch obviously wanted it to work as a dream, but then all the central characters need to be flat. Lynch should have followed Herzog and hypnotized the actors. Max von Sydow and Linda Hunt are pros and Siân Phillips and Kenneth McMillan dig deep, but there's a lot of bad acting by good actors, and by bad actors, and by bad actors who were allowed to chew the scenery.

Questions of kitsch, 1980s architectural historicism, Batman, then and now and the Queen's favorite movie (linked before). The shots designed for the camera itself, images that come out of his head, are unforgettable, close to the imagistic romanticism of Herzog but with an Anglo-American sense of materiality: Joseph Cornell. Herzog is more a pure filmmaker, an artist in images in light. Nolan's cinema is in the classic Hollywood mode where the light itself becomes material, the illusion becomes material.

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