Thursday, April 14, 2011

Critics and Spoilers

It appears that a well known Australian critic has gone out of his way to include a major spoiler (in the first line) of his review of Scre4m. Namely, the identity of the killer. Given that a strong component of the Scream franchise is the “whoddunit” aspect this would seem to be bloody-minded and disrespectful of both the film-makers and the intended audience. The critic clearly didn’t like the film but is that any excuse to ruin it for others by revealing such a major twist? No, absolutely not.

Social media has already started stirring with the early swell of a backlash and it’s interesting that many leading the charge are local film critics. I’m not surprised. Such an egregious review has the potential to besmirch their reputation by association.

So what is the responsibility of a film reviewer? Who ultimately are they accountable to? What damage can such a revelation cause a film or is something like Scre4m “critic proof”? What if it was an Australian film?

I know there is a stream of thought that says film critics are the natural enemy of the film-maker. But on listening to a sudden plethora of podcasts by professional film reviewers, my impression is that most are conscientious in their approach and considerate of the audience in regard to things like plot spoilers.

I was listening to a local podcast today where spoiler alerts were being given for films 30-40 years old! Okay, that may be extreme but it indicated an acknowledgement of a certain responsibility to the listener, a courtesy I am sure is extended in other media formats.

I may not always agree with critics’ thoughts on a film but I can at least acknowledge a well argued opinion. Deliberately spoiling a film, however, is inexcusable.

Do you pay any attention to film reviews? Does it influence your decision on what to see? What do you think of the inclusion of spoilers in reviews?

1 comment:

  1. An interesting rejoinder on the matter from the Crikey website:

    Seems someone was trying to cover their tracks!