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Surface Tension: R.J. Cutler’s “The September Issue”

Surface Tension: R.J. Cutler's "The September Issue"

About five minutes into R.J. Cutler’s The September Issue, an almost-expose of the production of Vogue magazine’s annual fall spectacular, electroclash act Ladytron’s icy “Destroy Everything You Touch” spikes on the soundtrack. By this point Cutler’s already established his hands-off nonfiction filmmaking bona fides, run through a couple of other music cues and highlighted the film’s main attraction: a first-person interview with the famously aloof Vogue editor Anna Wintour, definer of fashion, inspiration for the princess of darkness in The Devil Wears Prada. With the Ladytron cut, he reaches out for some kind of documentary/fashion nirvana: the band’s chilly posing and preening seems a dead-on match for images of Wintour twirling on a series of red carpets; its propulsive beat makes the whole thing feel more like something straight from the multiplex. Yet Ladytron’s lyrics, while not exactly plumbing James-ian psychological depths, are really about self-sabotage and preservation, and neither of these things are really what The September Issue‘s about, at least as far as I can tell. Ice queen or no, Wintour does not destroy everything she touches, just the opposite in fact, and this thoughtless dissonance so early on sets the tone.

Click here to read the rest of Jeff Reichert’s review of The September Issue.

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