Filmmakers and critics don’t always have the easiest relationship. While critics often champion challenging films that might not otherwise reach a mainstream audience (see the big success of “The Witch” this past weekend), some filmmakers believe that the opinions of pundits who have never been involved in film production at any level have little weight. Director Ben Wheatley seems to be in that camp.
Chatting with Flick Reel, the filmmaker was candid about film criticism. “It’s a job that I wouldn’t want or seek out. As a creative person, I think you should be making stuff. That’s the challenge. Talking about other peoples stuff is weird. Why aren’t you making stuff? And if you aren’t, why should you really have a voice to complain about things until you’ve walked mile in someone’s shoes?” he said. “There are a lot of critics that I like, but I don’t get that relationship with art where you can just talk about it but not create it.”
The argument that only filmmakers can adequately critique film suggests that one cannot understand the craft of moviemaking without actually doing it, and there are plenty of fantastic writers who provide great depth to their reviews who have never shot a single frame. However, it seems as if it is reactionary criticism that Wheatley dislikes, and he noted that even his own attitude towards movies has become more nuanced.
“I’m so lucky that I’m of an age that I wasn’t able to rant about films and put it on Twitter and message boards for the rest of time. As soon as I made my first film, I realized that my days of watching films and shouting at [filmmakers] for being terrible were totally misguided. It’s really really hard to make anything even just competent. I mellowed immediately. I’m not as judgmental now,” he said.
Thoughts? Does Wheatley have a point about film criticism? Let us know below. His latest film “High-Rise,” opens later this year. Check out the new poster below.