ARMOND WHITE CONTRASTS NOLAN & DE PALMA
With Armond White set to be one of the guests on tonight's Carrie-related episode of the Movie Geeks United! tribute to the De Palma thriller, it seems a good time to note that about a month and a half ago, White was a guest on a /Film Filmcast episode devoted to Christopher Nolan's Inception. /Film's Adam Quigley was incredulous about White's review of Inception in the New York Press, in which the critic stated that "Christopher Nolan doesn’t have a born filmmaker’s natural gift for detail, composition and movement, but on the evidence of his fussily constructed mind-game movies—Following, Memento, Insomnia and the new Inception—he’s definitely a born con artist." On the /Film filmcast, White said that he goes into each Nolan film hoping to be impressed, but that Nolan always disappoints him. Nolan presents a “depressing, repellent nihillism,” according to White, who went on to note that while Nolan is not a "born filmmaker," Brian De Palma most definitely is:
Adam Quigley: Judging from the Inception review you wrote, Armond, you said that Nolan doesn’t have a born filmmaker’s natural gift for detailed composition and movement. But that’s interesting. I mean, that’s how your review starts. That’s interesting to me, though, because are you assuming it’s a born talent, or… it sounds like, as soon as you started this review that you were judging Nolan, you know, Nolan the person, and perhaps not the movie. Did you have that idea of him before you even saw Inception?
Armond White: Well… well, wait a minute—think about what you’re saying. It’s how I started the review. I don’t write my reviews with no thought in my head. That may be the way I started the review, but it’s not the way I approached the review. Consider this: I approached the review after having seen the movie, and after having thought about it. I write my reviews in a way that I hope can be read enjoyably and with some interest. So I’m starting an argument in that way. It doesn’t mean that that’s my first thought. I’m beginning the construction of an argument that way. And I begin the argument after having seen the film, and after having thought about it. So it’s not that I start with a prejudice. I start with a response. And the review is a response. From the very first word of the review, it’s a response, it’s not a prejudice.
And so you want to know about the idea of a born filmmaker?
Armond: I believe there is such a thing. Just as I believe there are people who are born singers. I’m not one of those. But Prince is. Whitney Houston is. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is a born singer. Singers can be trained, but some people are born with a gift. And it’s easy to find artists who are born with a gift. Bertolucci is a born filmmaker. I would reckon from the first piece of film by Brian De Palma that was ever exhibited in public, you can see that he’s a born filmmaker—he’s got it. He’s doing things in a distinctive way. It’s a gift. And not everybody’s got the gift.
From there, the discussion delved into a comparison between Nolan and Michael Bay, the latter of which, according to White, also has a natural gift for visual filmmaking.
Also on tonight's Carrie-themed episode of Movie Geeks United! will be Nancy Allen and John Kenneth Muir.