Arts Infernal Spoilers of the Sunshine Kind
posted by July 31 at 16:35 PMon
So I got an angry e-mail from a reader today, complaining (rightly) that I gave too much away in my extremely enthusiastic review of Sunshine, specifically about a plot development in the third act (which has since been removed from the web version). To be honest, I don’t think having prior knowledge of said detail wrecks the experience — one of the best things about the flick (and the point at which I suspect my deadline-frenzied brain was trying to get at by unwisely spilling the beans) is how it takes a bunch of moldy old space clichés and makes them feel freshly minted — but to anyone who felt bummed out by it, I sincerely apologize.
Anyway, this got me thinking about spoilers, and the way that Harry Knowles and Co. seem to have blurred the lines about what it’s possible to know before entering the theater. (Skimming the reviews for Sunshine at Rotten Tomatoes, I found a bunch that gave away the whole damn thing.) Personally, I generally try to limit my plot descriptions to a sentence or two, which is probably too limited for some people (a pre-Stranger editor of mine used to routinely add gobs of synopsis to my stuff, claiming that the audience wanted to know what they were in for), but I’m curious. Mileage varies, of course — I know people who plug their ears and close their eyes at trailers, while others routinely go on the IMDB looking for explicit, beat by beat details – but any thoughts on what type of information you generally look for in a review? If a movie has a big, Shyamalan-type ending, for example, is it giving too much away to even mention a twist?
Thanks, and sorry, and thanks.
P.S. It’s made out of people! People!