The Nation's film critic Stuart Klawans is author of the books Film Follies: The Cinema Out of Order (a finalist for the 1999 National Book Critics Circle Awards) and Left in the Dark: Film Reviews and Essays, 1988-2001. His film criticism and reviews for The Nation won the 2007 National Magazine Award. When not on deadline for The Nation, he contributes articles to the New York Times and other publications.
Reviews of Why We Fight, Looking for
Comedy in the Muslim World and Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull
Michael Haneke's Caché is a stylish thriller that scrapes away
at the surface of polite European affluence to lay bare the moral rot
Munich is a first-rate spy thriller featuring an assassin who reveals his soul. Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain gives two extraordinary actors time and space to develop a rare emotional interplay. Match Point puzzles with a dirty-minded energy. And Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong is true to the Depression-era original.
The Chronicles of Narnia is the perfect combination
of Christian allegory and The Lord of the Rings, a well-crafted
commodity and nothing more. The Ice Harvest, an anti-Christmas
film noir, has an unexpected depth of feeling. Memoirs of a
Geisha is all prestige and promotions.
Syriana disappoints; The Boys of Baraka
documents the lives of inner-city kids transported to the wild beauty
of Africa; and Punishment Park zeroes in on injustice in
Breakfast for Pluto is the upbeat and whimsical fable of a girl
in a boy's body. Watching Claire Danes in Shopgirl will make you
forget for a while that other actresses exist.
Paradise Now explores the bond among suicide bombers; The
Squid and the Whale brings two monstrously large characters to
human scale and The President's Last Bang is nastily efficient.
A History of Violence examines one man's attempt to protect his family from the murderers drifting into his small Indiana town. Good Night, and Good Luck presents a portrait of Senator Joseph McCarthy to a generation that
knows him only as the front end of an "ism."
Tim Burton enlivens the dark and gloomy life of corpses
and aristocrats in Corpse Bride; Occupation: Dreamland
offers an unsentimental view of Iraqi soldiers.
What to make of The Constant Gardener, a movie
focused on Europeans set in Africa, the return of Terry Gilliam and the
New York City-set Keane?