There are two ways to look at figure skating. You can judge it as a matter of difficulty or a matter of grace. It used to be the grace that trumped. I watch figure skating and films because of how they enrich my lives. Sometimes a skater — or an actor for that matter — needs to do something that requires great skill in order to deliver something wonderful. And when they do that, it is a double value.
But the world of figure skating — if you have been following it — has gone over to the dark side. Now, skaters will be judged on whether they do something difficult. The more difficult, the higher the score. Grace and coherence of the routine is out the window, considered too subjective to judge.
Some people are making films the same way. The recent “Troy” had no grace at all, merely its scope to impress us. In this case — indeed in all Ed Norton films — the justification is purely that we have an actor doing difficult things.
There is no grace here, no transportation to insight, no inner world, no coherence. The entire project is there to support Ed and his “difficult moves”.
The end is supposed to be a simple take-away: a ten minute future that is yanked back. Much more shocking than this is how muted is our man Spike. His flowing visual talent is usually locked into some stupid sentiments, grace in a dummy suit. Here he is subdued (except for the dollied “sway” segment) and actually tries to make a film. Too bad it is vacuous, but this time it isn’t his fault.
The real actor here is Hoffman, but he is buried in another of his stammering characters.
Posted in 2004
Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.