I guess it’s cruelly appropriate: the end of Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise will also mark the end of one critic’s tenure at his newspaper. In a Facebook post, Christopher Kelly, film critic for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for the last twelve years, announced that he’d been let go during a recent round of layoffs. His review of “The Dark Knight Rises” will be his last for the Star-Telegram. From that review:
“The best thing to be said for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is Nolan’s deft visual imagination, the way Gotham once again approximates elements of New York and Chicago but ultimately seems to exist in its own gorgeous alternate universe. And in two scenes, Michael Caine, back again as long-suffering butler Alfred, brings an unexpected tenderness and bald emotion to a previously cold-to-the-touch franchise. A little more heart — and a lot less bombast — and this movie might have been the game-changer its creators so desperately want it to be.”
The move, Kelly says, was “hardly unexpected, considering the state of the newspaper industry.” And, he admits, it’s “not unwelcome either.” He’ll use his severance package to travel with his family and write a new novel.
“Twelve years was a great run,” Kelly adds, “and I feel very fortunate that I got to be a part of the golden age of American newspapering, if only at the end.” Maybe it’s like Catwoman warns in “The Dark Knight Rises” — a storm is coming. Or maybe it’s already here.
When I reached out to Kelly for his reaction, he passed along a letter he sent to friends and colleagues about the news and graciously agreed to let me to publish it on Criticwire. Here’s an extended excerpt. I wish him the best of luck on his novel and whatever else comes next.
Friends and colleagues:
I’m writing to let you know that, after nearly twelve years, my time at the Star-Telegram is coming to an end. I am being let go as part of the latest round of layoffs that began in 2008, and that have reduced the newspaper (like so many other regional dailies across the country) to a shell of what it once was… I will still be writing regularly for Texas Monthly, where I’ve been a writer-at-large since 2006, and for the Texas-edition of the New York Times — so please keep those pitches and screening invites and other good stuff coming. My only real regret is that I leave behind a handful of treasured friends and co-workers, who are fighting harder than anyone realizes to move the ball forward, even as their legs keep getting cut out from under them.
Read more of “Movie Review: ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’“