Left in the Dark: Film Reviews and Essays 1998-2001

Left in the Dark: Film Reviews and Essays 1998-2001



The Pequod Review:

Stuart Klawans's Left in the Dark is a collection of film reviews and essays, covering a good mix of modern indie films, classics, and foreign films. Klawans is less accessible and more unstructured than his contemporary film critics, but buried within are a number of intelligent observations. Here is Klawans on Not One Less (tiān shàng yǒu ge tàiyáng) by Yimou Zhang:

I like a filmmaker who walks you into a story. Some directors, rushing to get started, prefer to fly you in by helicopter — a popular choice for stories set in New York or Miami, where the camera can come skimming in over the water. Other filmmakers float you down on a crane, so you can survey the scene while a car pulls up to the suburban house, a train to the country station. Maybe you come into the picture by riding along with the characters (by rocket, if George Lucas is in charge); or maybe, if Spielberg is running things, the early shots reveal that you have no need to travel, because you were already inside the movie. You discover that your nose is somehow pressed against Liam Neeson's torso as he's getting dressed; or you realize that your eye is really the eye of Tom Hanks, who is watching how his hand shakes during the boat ride to Omaha Beach.

And here is Klawans on Atom Egoyan and The Sweet Hereafter:

All of Egoyan’s films have dwelled on the theme of life after loss, the way your mind keeps circling back until time becomes spongy; the way the present moment seems to pass at a slight remove, just beyond the dead space that surrounds your body.