“So Chinatown withered. Went from egg-drop to pin-drop.”
Adam Sternbergh, Shovel Ready
The lovingly destroyed New York is evidence of that: it’s really obviously great fun to do, if we judge by how many times we get to see it each year, a boy’s game everybody gets a turn at. Sternbergh’s terrorist attacks aren’t quite as inventive as Nathaniel Rich’s grand flood, but the notion of the city persisting, half-full, is evocative. But the apocalypse is basically setting, background, something for the characters to run around on and deliver one-liners about (this one being particularly tidy, but Sternbergh keeps such a very very impressive pace with his quips that the grand guignol spatter of the plot mechanics has trouble keeping up sometimes; apocalypse as standup act). Again, ‘work of art’ is too strong a criterion, especially because Shovel Ready aims so clearly to be an entertainment, an effortless performance — but there’s not much ballasting the flawless execution of genre moves here.
February 07, 2014, 9:30am Comments