movie film review | chris tookey
harsh reviews
An A to Z of the World's Deadliest Movie Reviews From Affleck
to Zeta Jones
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 
Jonathan Demme
Director, Melvin and Howard (1981)
The situation in film criticism is becoming much like that in theater criticism: any American who shows the slightest whisp of talent, who is not uttterly hopeless, gets wheeled right up to the pumping station for inflation. In film, it's directors, this week's example being Jonathan Demme.
(Stanley Kauffmann, New Republic)
Director, The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Demme has finally given up: He's succumbed to the temptations of movie authoritarianism, making a film about domination that seeks itself to dominate its audience. Clarice's compassion is only the alibi; the film's deepest appeal lies in the dream of complete callousness, of irresistible power and perfect freedom from moral constraint, that Lecter represents. Ultimately, the film is a power fantasy barely distinguishable from the crudest Arnold Schwarzenegger or Eddie Murphy vehicle, though aimed at a more knowing, more sophisticated public.
(Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune)
I'm dismayed that people should mistake competence for art, appalled that critics and audiences seem ready to wink at gay-bashing. And I'm disheartened that Jonathan Demme, whose best work has been so alert, so open to the way Americans live, would cocoon himself in this preposterous fantasy.
(Stuart Klawans, Nation)
Director, The Truth About Charlie (2003)
Demme's loose approach kills the suspense.
(Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner)
What happened to Demme's magic touch, and what is it with this ridiculous casting that never works?
(Steve Rhodes, Steve Rhodes' Internet Reviews)
Jonathan Demme has made first-rate films - notably The Silence of the Lambs - and it's sad to see his decline from an enterprising independent film-maker into a tenth-rate studio hack. His casting throughout is absurd. The storytelling is so tiresome and incoherent that by the time it reaches its ludicrously over-protracted denouement, most sensible members of the audience will have given up and gone home. Demme's ill-advised use of slow motion, fantasy sequences and digital video - clearly intended as an hommage to the French new wave in general and Truffaut in particular - is meaningless, arch and pretentious. The final shot is of Truffaut's grave. You may be able to hear him turning in it.
(Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Key to Symbols