Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Thomas McCarthy's The Cobbler is an ideal example of where basic filmmaking skills can lead you if you're burdened with bad intentions. One suspects that this is a movie made for the wrong reasons, yet whatever those reasons may be - maybe financial greed, maybe creative stagnation, maybe sheer cheek - they cannot and do not excuse the atrocity of what is so insidiously wreaked upon us in this film. For his part, McCarthy is too solid a 'basic filmmaker' to produce an inadequate film, technically speaking. The Cobbler is unremarkable, stylistically, and entirely generic, but there are greater crimes against cinematic technique than not particularly trying... aren't there? Are there? There are greater crimes within The Cobbler's screenplay, whose audacious stupidity seems to know no bounds. And indeed it should not, as cliche turns into coincidence, as coincidence turns into nonsense, and as the only thing preventing the film from turning entirely predictable is the voice of trust and optimism in one's head, arguing that the man who wrote The Visitor could surely never, no rly, surely not do anything so idiotic as thaaa.... Most horrible of all is that none of this is most horrible at all - that would be the film's blatant straight white male privilege argument, hidden behind the notion that the film's racial stereotypes can be forgiven if the privilege is bestowed upon the Jewish straight white male at the centre. Bitches, mothers and objects of lust mingle with black men, Asian men and other minority men, as McCarthy and co-writer Paul Sado expose their unwitting racism and their free, frank homophobia, transphobia and misogyny, in a film that barely goes five minutes without shitting out some slur or another. Bad intentions, basic bitches.