Sunday, June 20, 2010

rediff reviews: all words, no matter should consider hiring a competent editor for its movie reviews. It should also consider hiring some professional writers instead of bloggers. One of the many new additions over the weekend has been Pavithra Srinivasan's review of Raavanan. This review, as with several on the portal, doesn't offer much in content. It also does this with a strange choice of punctuation and the use of incomplete sentences -- a style more appropriate for amateur blogs -- and clichés. Here are a few examples of lazy writing that could have been fixed had there been a useful editorial presence involved. The original text is presented in italics.

But whether the movie satisfies the enormous hype it's generated story-wise, is something else, altogether
Had I edited this piece, I would have replaced it's with it has, simply because although the contraction it's is used for both it is and it has, I am more likely to read this as it is first, before figuring out that the writer meant it has. Note the adventurous use of the comma in a most inappropriate place.

The scene: The forested areas in the vicinity of Ambasamudram, or Megamalai, as it's so eloquently expressed in the local papers. Areas that are inaccessible to outsiders; only the local residents know the place; even then, its treacherous.
Note the use of incomplete sentences and the strange use of semi-colons. The incorrect use of its appears along with the correct it's (which now stands for it is). The last two fragments also seem to be predicated on the unproveable assertion that if the residents of a town or village know an area well, it no longer remains treacherous.

Intensely loyal to his people, his background is supposed to be a gory one.
As constructed, the sentence implies that his background was loyal to his people. The writer surely meant to convey two separate ideas and was driven by deadlines or laziness (or both) to combine them into a single senseless sentence.

There's a hurried song, "Kalvare", that shows her love for her husband and she does exhibit her loyalty to him throughout the film but it's does secondhand, in the way she resists Veera's attempts to subdue her.
One of the two uses of "does" in this extract is incorrect. I leave it to the erudite reader to determine which one that is.

Her dialogues are corny, artificially arrogant; one of her first lines is to taunt Veera with a recital that's so jarring you can barely believe it.
This fragment employs the word recital in a curious way. There is nothing in the review that helps you understand what recital the reviewer is referring to: a recital of music? a recital of verse? a narration of some other kind?

He's in character, sympathetic as the situation demands it, and comes across as realistic, despite the caricature-like portrayal.
This is another confusing line. If the actor is in character, how can the portrayal be caricature-like? Perhaps the reviewer means to suggest that this part is poorly written and the actor playing it improves things with his interpretation.

There are no twists and turns, nothing in the narration that shows intelligence leaving the viewer detached, with nothing to relate to.
This is a fragment that works better when spoken aloud with the appropriate pauses. The commas are misplaced and more than one sentence would have helped matters greatly.

1 comment:

Sudarshan said...

Thank Mani Ratnam for making you look at the regional language film reviews :). In general, reviews of Kannada/Tamil/Telugu movies in the English papers are really crappy. There's this guy who writes Telugu movie reviews in a couple of Bangalore papers, and his reviews are just summaries of the plot (including the ending), and one sentence each about how the lead actors looked.

I suppose I shouldn't focus on those reviewers alone - most reviews of Hindi movies are equally bad (ToI anyone?).

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