Friday, January 02, 2004

Anthony Lane on Lord of the Rings III: Return of the King

When Anthony Lane's film criticism for the New Yorker was anthologised last year into a very large tome called Nobody's Perfect, it was greeted with universal applause. This was unusual on two counts: firstly, journalists are generally a spiteful and bitchy tribe, and seldom speak well of their fellow practitioners until those fellow practitioners are either safely dead or decrepit; secondly, while they would be loathe to admit it, most people seem to think that any ass can sit in a cinema and belt out his thousand words of insight afterwards.

Lane disproves all. As a critic, he is unparalleled in his generation. Lane's great gift is that his criticism echoes the tone of the movie, and this is no better exemplified by his review of Return of the King, the final part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Simply magnificent - so magnificent in fact, that, though no Tolkienista I, I may even go and see the picture.