Summary

The UK's most trusted (and scathing) film reviewer asks: Who needs the professionals now that everyone's a critic? For decades, the backbone of film criticism has been the hatchet job - the entertaining trashing of a film by professional reviewers, seen by many as cynical snobs.
But with the arrival of the internet, have the critics finally fallen under the axe? With movie posters now just as likely to be adorned by Twitter quotes as fusty reviewer recommendations, has the rise of enthusiastic amateurism sounded the death knell of a profession? Are the democratic opportunities of the internet any more reliable than the old gripes and prejudices of the establishment? Can editing really be done by robots? And what kind of films would we have if we listened to what the audience thinks it wants?
Starting with the celebrated TV fight between film-maker Ken Russell and critic Alexander Walker (the former hit the latter with a rolled-up copy of his Evening Standard review on live television) and ending with his own admission to Steven Spielberg of a major error of judgement, Mark Kermode takes us on a journey across the modern cinematic landscape. Like its predecessor, The Good, The Bad & The Multiplex, Hatchet Job blends historical analysis with trenchant opinion, bitter personal prejudices, autobiographical diversions and anecdotes, and laugh-out-loud acerbic humour. It's the perfect book for anyone who's ever expressed an opinion about a movie.
©2013 Mark Kermode (P)2013 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Ian on 17-02-15

Perfectly acceptable book from the Good Doctor

Another fine dissection of the movie industry by Dr. K. Lots of interesting anecdotes recollected with aplomb and insight.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Tim on 23-11-13

A skilled orator giving an insight into his world

Being a relatively recent convert to the @wittertainment podcast and the flappy handed blather of BBC Radio's version of Statler and Waldorf, I looked forward to hearing what the good doctor had to say in book form.

Dr. Kermode is very good at speaking, easy to listen to and, giving that he was speaking words he himself had written it came as no surprise that the delivery was crisp and impassioned in all the right places.

Peppered with humour as well as the rants he is famous for the tale moves on at a brisk pace and is enlightening as to what it means to be a full time film critic, from the arcane days of print media in the 80's when he started, to the digital age in this century. It goes someway to explaining how on earth someone can make a living by watching films and complaining about them while simultaneously admitting that they couldn't have done a better job themselves.

An enjoyable listen which includes my current favourite phrase "turned it up to eleventy-stupid"

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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