Guillermo del Toro Defends Martin Scorsese After Controversial Essay Calls Him ‘Uneven Talent’

The "Shape of Water" director wasn't a fan of a new essay slamming Scorsese, saying, "If God offered to shorten my life to lengthen Scorsese's, I'd take the deal."
Martin Scorsese and Guillermo del Toro
Martin Scorsese and Guillermo del Toro
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Martin Scorsese is the subject of a highly controversial new essay in The Critic, which claims that the Oscar-winning director is not nearly as talented as many cinephiles make him out to be.

The piece has attracted attention for disses like “Scorsese has lazily settled on Mafia-Picture Director as a main calling” and its dismissal of Scorsese as an “uneven talent.” The essay also makes unfounded claims like “no studio dares utter the word ‘no'” to the director who famously spent much of his career fighting to get funding for his films.

The article has prompted plenty of outrage from around the film community, but few responded with as much passion as Guillermo del Toro. The “Nightmare Alley” director took to Twitter on Friday to criticize the essay and defend Scorsese’s legacy as both an artist and an advocate for cinema.

“I very, very seldom post anything contradictory here,” del Toro wrote, “but the amount of misconceptions, sloppy inaccuracies and hostile adjectives not backed by an actual rationale is offensive, cruel and ill-intentioned. This article baited them traffic, but at what cost?”

He continued: “To be clear: If God offered to shorten my life to lengthen Scorsese’s- I’d take the deal. This man understands Cinema. Defends Cinema. Embodies Cinema. He has always fought for the art of it and against the industry of it. He has never been tamed and has a firm place in history.”

Del Toro was particularly bothered by what he saw as the essay’s refusal to engage with Scorsese’s work in good faith. Instead, he felt like the writer simply complained instead of using actual ideas to make an argument.

“Most of the article is akin to faulting Picasso for ‘not getting perspective right’ or Gauguin for being ‘garish,'” he wrote. “If you assail these cornerstones, you should lay it out- you disassemble the work and build your position- not just hand an opinion with ‘slamming’ adjectives.”

Ultimately, del Toro’s distaste for the essay was so strong that it made him worry about the future of popular culture as a whole.

“When I read pieces like this one. Aimed at one of the most benign forces and one of the wisest, I do feel the tremors of an impending culture collapse,” he wrote. “And I do wonder: ‘To what end?’ …and find myself at a loss.”

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