My holiday movie-watching binge included Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln". It was a perfectly okay movie, but as I watched, I remembered that I never really like any of Spielberg's films. And, for the first time, it dawned on me what the problem is.
All his films seem like works for young adults. Shorn of all subtlety, complexity, and ambiguity, they hurtle inexorably forward as if on a steel rail. The hand of a fatherly figure cajoles us to feel precisely what he needs us to feel at every given moment.
One senses, above all, great pains taken in the name of clarity, but it's not the clarity of fluency (ala Hitchcock) or of simplicity (ala Ford); it's the clarity of someone who doesn't quite trust your powers of comprehension. The clarity of a grown-up striving to make himself understood to children.
That said, dude's a multi-billionaire-with-a-"b". The exquisitely nuanced Lars Von Trier, both despised and ignored by misapprehending masses, is, presumably, worth considerably less.
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