I’m as guilty as the next guy. If I’m at a film festival or an early screening of a film I know people are curious about, I try to get a reaction on Twitter as soon as possible. That’s the whole point of Twitter. It’s the world reacting in real time, and if it’s a big time movie, people who can’t be there are dying to know the thoughts of the people who are.
So is a Twitter reaction film criticism? It’s debatable. Thierry Fremaux, head of the Cannes Film Festival, says it is and that Twitter reactions are ruining film criticism. Read his quotes and some thoughts on Twitter movie reviews below.
Writing a review, is about formulating and putting down a thought, and can’t be summarized in 140 characters written as soon as the credits have stopped rolling. [The rush] created a permanent race against the clock between journalists and amateur neo-critics.
Cannes president Pierre Lescure agreeded:
Everything is accelerating. The instantaneity leads to hasty, excessive, definitive judgements. The critics are tweeting during projections. The nature and the function of the profession are changing. By acting like this, I’m not sure the profession is doing itself any good.
As a film critic myself and a long time Twitter user, I will say Fremaux and Lescure do have a point. Racing to react to a piece of art definitely leaves the door open for hyperbole and exaggeration. If you call a movie the “best thing ever” before the next guy, you’re more likely to get retweeted than someone who waits to post something with a bit more depth. And even in 140 characters, is any depth possible?
On a personal level, I see my Twitter reaction to a film as separate to my review. In a perfect world, I’d see every movie twice before reviewing it. You watch it once, have a reaction, formulate an argument to support it, then watch again to add detail and make sure the argument makes sense. And in that time, opinions might change. Some movies are way better on a second viewing than others, and vice versa. A film review is all about thinking on a movie, marinating it, and letting your thoughts out into the world.
Twitter is similar in that you are putting your thoughts out there, but somehow it’s less permanent. The brevity of it isn’t meant as the end all be all. Just a thought, an aside, an opinion or reaction that may change later. The value of a tweet isn’t to review a film, it’s to inform the world it’s out there, here’s a tease of what I think, and there’s more coming soon. I wouldn’t hold a critic to their Twitter reaction to something.
Then again, what reaction to art is more pure than your initial one? If I feel The Raid 2 is one of the greatest action films I’ve ever seen seconds after watching the movie, that’s interesting. I want to know someone’s instant gut reaction. But I also want to know what they think later too. Then, juxtaposing those opinions can be a worthy exercise.
There’s definitely no right or wrong answer here and I certainly don’t run the most prestigious film festival in the world. What do you all think?Cool Posts From Around the Web: