Wednesday, 31 December 2008

RANT: When director's egos ruin their career

It occurs to me that James Cameron hasn't made a film in 12 years. Not since he embarrassingly declared himself the king of the world in response to Titanic's monstrous success, has he given us another movie. Granted, a man deserves to revel in his success for a while but this gap suggeststhat Cameron pretty much feels he made a movie that can't be topped. Its a shame for two reasons. Firstly, Titanic is far from the career defining masterpiece he seems to think but more pressingly because it maybe prevented Cameron from making his career defining masterpiece. His success seemingly took away his drive, and thus left us with no new Cameron film for a decade and some change, in which time he could have made two great films. It is a lesson in why directors need always be on their toes, and Cameron is certainly not the only example of a career derailed by an ever expanding head. One needs only to look at Quentin Tarantino, who not only makes film irregularly but seems to get worse with every release. His smugness, no doubt magnified by the 90's referential revolution he inspired, is most evident in Death Proof, which he seems to think can fly on his dialogue alone. It Can't. Its painful lack of direction and poor acting left any Bande a Part fanboy disappointed at what their messiah had evolved into. The problem was that he clearly wasn't all there, and as can happen when one believes entirely in one's own hype. In other words, his ego K.O'd his commitment and any sense of effort and thus we got a half-assed movie not worthy of his name.

A less renowned and no doubt less thought of example of this is Donnie Darko helmer Richard Kelly. Yes it may be jumping the gun a little to call him a great director, but his film, as any emo student will tell you, is a visually accomplished debut brimming with promise. The film becomes the shit amongst the younger population of most white, English speaking countries and thus the world is telling Kelly he is the next whizz kid on the cinematic block. And what is he to do but believe that he is in fact the next whizz kid on the cinematic block. Que Southland Tales, an overblown under-written mess. Directors of the world; the only way to stay at the top of you're game is to develop inferiority complexes, and fast. No matter what anyone tells you, always think you can do better otherwise you'll make your own version of Death Proof and the humble viewing public don't need that shit. They really don't.

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