movie film review | chris tookey
 
harsh reviews
An A to Z of the World's Deadliest Movie Reviews From Affleck
to Zeta Jones
SELECT VICTIMS BY INITIAL LETTER OF SURNAME
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 
Sally Potter
Director, Writer, Actress, The Tango Lesson (1997)
Undermining everything is Potter's onscreen presence. Not only is she a particularly limited actress, but she treats herself to too many close-ups - the majority of which are in the middle of Veron's dance routines. Such blatant narcissism would be forgivable if it had any dramatic relevance, but Potter's favoured expression is so impassive that it betrays no emotion to interpret.
(David Parkinson, Empire)
Must be a top contender for most self-indulgent movie of the decade.
(Anne Billson, Sunday Telegraph)
Ms Potter has a good eye for a picture, as was proved by her last film, Orlando; but she is no actress, not much of a dancer, and shows little discernible talent as a scriptwriter. A sense of humour is noticeably lacking, especially from an embarrassingly crass scene where she tries to satirise a script conference in Hollywood. A far more revealing film might have been made of how Ms Potter managed to wheedle money out of so many European quangoes, including our own Arts Council and European Co-Production Fund, to pay for a flagrantly self-indulgent home movie.
(Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Director, Writer, The Man Who Cried (2000)
Hitler's favourite film-maker, Leni Riefenstahl, has her detractors for obvious reasons, so the world is still looking for a first-class female director. For a time - in the wake of Orlando - Britain's Sally Potter looked as though she might fit the description. Her latest shows that when she has a cameraman such as Sacha Vierny there is no one who can make actors look more stylish. However, those of us who endured her last epic of self-indulgence, The Tango Lesson, already know that Potter suffers from the delusion that she can write; and the script for this is an embarrassingly shallow, novelettish affair, which resembles some God-forsaken Channel 5 mini-series.
(Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Director, Writer, Yes (2005)
The more serious Potter gets (there are several earnest soliloquies about dirt), the harder it is not to laugh.
(Kyle Smith, New York Post)
This is the kind of movie that nice people call ambitious. Let's just leave it at that.
(Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune)
Yes is not just a movie, in other words, it's a poem. A bad poem. There is no denying Ms. Potter's skill at versifying - or for that matter, at composing clear, striking visual images - but her intricate, measured lines amount to doggerel, not art.
(A.O. Scott, New York Times)
Long, painful experience has taught me to beware any drama in which the protagonists are called He and She, any piece not written by Shakespeare that claims to be in rhyming iambic pentameters, any film that’s Lottery-funded, and anything that’s written and directed by Sally Potter. Yes fulfils all four criteria. Sally Potter has never fulfilled the promise of her debut, the 1992 Orlando, and her biggest problem is the terrifying banality of her writing. When she attempts a form as literary as the rhyming iambic pentameter, it would help if she understood at least the basics of rhyming and scansion. The actors do their best with her limping doggerel, but no actor on earth could disguise the illiteracy of statements such as “I did not mean to infer that you were over-large” (meaning “I did not mean to imply that you were fat”, which may not be an iambic pentameter but has the merit of at least making sense).
(Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Key to Symbols