The Oscar season has arrived. This year the choice is rather stark. It could well confirm the parochial and internalised (and ultimately unethical) values of the Academy – if such confirmation is necessary. The front-runners for the best film are 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle and Gravity. American Hustle is the kind if film that Hollywood does exploitingly well – fast, funny, full of narrative action and characterful people (all over-acted). It also belongs to the genre of film in which we are seduced by charismatic crooks – like Butch Cassidy…, and Bonnie and Clyde, and the another nominated picture, The Wolf of Wall Street. Of these the Wolf stands at the extreme end of the scale, since it concerns a living crook who is clearly raking in money from being convicted of crimes. Gravity is a fine film, visually compelling and unafraid to use slow long-shots, but vitiated by the metaphysical re-appearance of the male astronaut to give Sandra Bullock life-saving instructions. Presumably, being George Clooney, they could not kill him off so early in the film.
This leaves only one choice. Please take it.