Film: Screen scene

It's hard to swim against opinion. I loved Titanic. The critic for this very news organ said it stunk. What!?!?!?!? Boy, it's a weird game, movie reviewing. It has its own strange, sleepwalking moments. Often, you find yourself trundling off to see a film you know nothing about. Like a grumpy executive in a sleazy strip show, you sit in a small, darkened room waiting to be impressed.

It is better to know nothing about a film. Better that than have one's expectations raised, as I did for In the Company of Men. This Canadian directorial debut cost about $25,000 and looks as if shot from a camera bolted to the floor because someone didn't pay for the rental.

It did win the 1997 Sundance Film Festival's Best Dramatic Film award. Not too shabby for a movie about premeditated cruelty. Two bitter yuppies seduce and break a woman during a six-week stint. There is no reprieve. To make it more pitiful, the seductee is beautiful and deaf. Just like real life!

Is it worth seeing? Well, yes. It does, as promised, shunt into topics such as racism, misogyny and other hot ones best avoided at dinner parties. But I was promised that I would feel appalled after watching In the Company of Men. Frankly, I'm appalled that I am not appalled. People are evil sometimes and ... hey, where's my popcorn gone to?

Don't listen to me. Buy a ticket and judge for yourself. This whole "Trust me I'm a film critic" palaver is shot full of holes anyway. Each week, a fellow critic and I place bets on who will get quoted on the posters. Every week, there's one critic - who shall remain nameless - who loves absolutely everything. Is this reviewer stupid, taking payola, or, like the rest of us lucky enough to watch movies for money, simply in love with the medium? Nobody can trust the opinion of someone who likes everything. With the sky-high price of cinema tickets, you can trust only one person's opinion, really. Mine.

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