Brian De Palma A. D. Malmfelt - Essay

A. D. Malmfelt

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Greetings is, quite simply, a fraud. For it pretends to be about the young and the hip, while actually being about what the middle-aged and the square consider the young and hip to be. Yet, oddly enough, even the film's detractors appear not actively to dislike it. The worst objections have been to the effect that the film is very crudely made but that it at least has its heart in the right place…. In point of fact, Greetings has its heart in the right place only on a commercial level. But even if one assumes that the makers of the film have not intentionally pandered to some public concept of what the youth of today is all about for the sake of their own financial gain, the kindest thing that can then be said is that they have failed not morally but intellectually. (pp. 37-8)

[There] is no evidence of a directorial personality at all, much less one capable of imposing on the film a world vision extending beyond the limitations of the script…. In their quest for the contemporary [the filmmakers] have paid close attention to the miscellaneous parts of their film but have given little evident thought to the whole, either as a structural work or as an expression of some rational point of view. Everything has been sacrificed to the twin goals of presenting an easily recognizable picture of youth and of provoking a few laughs. It seems not to have occurred to them that to be conceptually silly, thematically inconsistent and technically incompetent is not necessarily Where It's At. (p. 38)

The function of the film director is to direct the camera and the actors, in that order. Observed from this point of view, director de Palma is far more conspicuous by his absence than by his presence. His handling of actors is extremely tentative. It is as if he did not want to push anyone to work very hard, or simply wanted to get his scene shot and move on to the next location. Except when placed in a fixed position from which they do not move, the actors almost never relate...

(The entire section is 828 words.)