Your Hollywood Review Bottom Line

As an Englishmen powerfully brought up on The Dunkirk Spirit, watching this week’s Christopher Nolan cinema treatment of WW2’s 1940 successful evacuation was always bound to strafe my to-do list.

Then the near-universally glowing reviews poured forth, cracking like popcorn from heated kernels.

Of the many I read on one train ride, here’s the start of a (the?) Hollywood Reporter;

“Dunkirk is an impressionist masterpiece”

Clicking through, I found that its opening US weekend was predicted as being unusually high for a war movie (especially one not – in real event nor film – featuring a single American). In part driven by the director’s amassed goodwill and a remarkable 95% Rotten Tomatoes pre-release critic must-see score.

In their review, beneath the video trailer, I see a snappy sum-up. I realised this is used for all reviews. They call it THE BOTTOM LINE. For the three big productions hitting N American screens this week, here’s their one-line takes;

Ladies and gentlemen, your Razzie frontrunner Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets (dir: Luc Besson)
This is how you do an R-rated female comedy Girls Trip (Malcolm D Lee)
A stunning victory Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan)

Film ads that pop up scrolling through your web feeds have reached a reductive level that surely cannot shrink any further. Save for new emoji development, worldwide evolution of kanji or close-up macro-expression reviewer selfie. Epic, Outstanding, Breathtaking. A single, solitary hyperbolic word is today’s norm. So it feels good to see a different treatment here given a go.

These straplines have a lot of the Marketing about them. Yet when we’re in the furnace of a pitch, it is always a useful safety net to have a few selling, rather than ad/marketing, succinct phrases. If you can encapsulate their problem or your solution with equal brevity, you’ll have a bulging bottom line of your own.

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