Post by splitdiopter on Sept 10, 2013 0:02:04 GMT -5
For some reason, De Palma's reputation amongst critics is bad and that seems to influence how they regard his movies. This is particularly noticeable with some of his films that are considered turkeys by critical consensus. Granted, De Palma has made some bad movies (Wise Guys and Get to Know Your Rabbit stand out), but movies like Mission to Mars and The Black Dahlia get treated as if they could give Plan 9 from Outer Space a run for its money. They aren't perfect movies, but I enjoyed both of them, and I don't see why so much vitriol was written about them; worse movies are released every month with better critics' ratings.
The most extreme example of this critical revilement that I've seen with Passion is this article at Film School Rejects, which is headlined "NYFF: Is ‘Passion’ Poised to Eclipse The Camp Classic ‘Showgirls’?".
Probably the best we can hope for is that some kind of re-evaluation happens within the next decade. I've noticed that many of the recent best-of-De Palma lists around various sites have been rating movies like Mission to Mars and The Black Dahlia higher than their original critical reception.
I've always been a bit mystified by the critical response to his films.
Obviously his particular visual style is quite rare and therefore not widely understood. Which is really ironic since I kinda thought this was a visual medium anyway However a literary reading emphasizing character, story and dialogue is the dominating paradigm among scholars and critics. I think it's important to understand that critics in this tradition will never get DePalma. With this in mind I don't think a 35% fresh rating at RT and 52 at MetaCritic is that surprising.
However, that's only part of the story, I believe. Reading a number of interviews with De Palma this summer it has become very clear to me there's another even more important reason why his films often don't connect with critics. Perhaps it was the interview at fillm.com that illustrated this best:http://www.film.com/movies/brian-de-palma-interview-passion His films clearly have a meta-level and De Palma does not shy away from engaging the audience on several different levels at the same time. Passion is both funny and scary at one the same time, it's both a character study and camp at once.
So in other words, to fully appreciate his films, you have to both inside the story, flowing with it; and outside it, analysing all layers and meta-levels at the same time. It's a very complicated exercise that goes against the dominant tradition where you know which genre you're in, and what you are supposed to feel. With De Palma's films you have to feel and think at the same time, and in the case of Passion; even feel two different things at the same time.
I will try to write more and give more concrete examples later..