Can one capture the essence of a work of art in one sentence? Perhaps. But, even if one can, should one try to? Isn’t life much more complicated than that? Is it laziness on the part of the writer, or even on the part of the reader, that my little blog exists? Again, perhaps. But I make no apologies for my little (concise to the point of disrespectful?) reviews. But is review the right word? Admittedly, I do come to a critical value judgement, but it’s not really criticism. I don’t strive to enhance the reader’s understanding of a work, nor do I intend to influence the critical capacity of those that have already experienced whatever it is that I am writing about. So, would preview be a better word? Are my reviews best read by those that have yet to watch, read, or otherwise experience the work that I am writing about? Which brings me to the biggest question: who am I to judge the value of anything?
If we narrow our focus for a moment to Films: film criticism, film reviewing, film journalism. What is its purpose? Do we need it? Well, for me, film criticism has two main functions: 1. To help people to decide how to spend their well-earned cash and their precious time, and 2. to help people to better understand the films that they have already watched. Now if we take number 1, that being the most relevant to this blog and subject, we are forced to ask, “who is qualified to undertake such a task?” Well, the answer is simple - any and everyone. It is an undeniable fact, or at least should be, that the appreciation of art is entirely subjective. No view about a film is right, and no view about a film is wrong. So, bearing that in mind, the onus is put onto the reader to find a critic/reviewer/previewer with whom they have common tastes, and whose judgement they can trust. Which justifies, I hope, my little scribblings. It even justifies those that wax lyrical about Michael Bay, and those that pour scorn on the genius of Ingmar Bergman.