Is Chaos Cinema a Bad Thing?


August 26, 2011

This set of video essays was recently posted at Press Play, aimed at “anyone who’s ever turned away from a movie because of a director’s shaky camera.” The basic argument is that action cinema of the past was fairly “classical” in that even during intense action they were “meticulous and patient.” You could tell what was going on. In contrast, action cinema of the past decade is simply “chaos.” Bad Boys 2 and Quantum of Solace are used as examples of camerawork so frenetic that much of these films are senseless.

It is worth at least reading through the transcript provided so that you will be prepared for this rebuttal, dismantling the idea that “chaos cinema” is as bad as it sounds. In a stunning twist of theoretical logic, Nye even makes a sequence from Bad Boys II sound like high art.

I think there may be a third position in here somewhere, but the current debate is worth catching up on.

Now, more here and here. Some helpful middle positions weighing in.