Everything Is Illuminated

The Critics Speak

I had a hard time taking seriously the complaints levied against Michael Moore and Bowling for Columbine: Oh, he's mean to Charlton; oh, he's mean to that cop; oh, he's doing an end-zone dance. This, from so-called "down" people presumably on the left. Whatever. The polite, evenhanded argument for gun control is made everyday—and it's certainly not deserving of any awards. It's called the Democratic Party platform. —JOSHUA ROTHKOPF

The chasm between harsh and complex sociopolitical realities, including the threat of a catastrophic war, and the insulated, complacent world of commercial and independent filmmaking grows ever larger. Something has to give. —DAVID WALSH

What a carve-up: Diaz and Day-Lewis (#2 performance) in Gangs of New York (#11 film)
photo: Mario Tursi
What a carve-up: Diaz and Day-Lewis (#2 performance) in Gangs of New York (#11 film)

I don't know if it's related to the collapse of the New Economy, but at the movies it was the year of living fraudulently. Time Out, set in the wintry twilight of capitalism, went the furthest. But many of the year's great characters are fabulous hucksters who, in some cases, even delude themselves. When has a year given us—without moralism—the protagonists of Time Out, Catch Me If You Can, Chicago, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Adaptation, Igby Goes Down, Morvern Callar, 13 Conversations, and even The Kid Stays in the Picture? We are increasingly coming around to the idea that in an insane system, it's impossible to succeed by doing anything straight. —DAVID EDELSTEIN

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