In “The Critic,” a thriller directed by Anand Tucker and scripted by Patrick Marber, Gemma Arterton and Mark Strong joins Ian McKellen in a tale set in 1930s London. McKellen plays Jimmy Erskine, a ruthless theatre critic who takes pleasure in tearing apart performers and productions. When his job is threatened, he goes to great lengths to maintain his position.
The story begins with Jimmy’s dismissal from The London Chronicle due to the new owner’s desire for a family-friendly newspaper and intolerance towards Jimmy’s homosexuality. Jimmy then embarks on a mission to regain his job, leading to a complex web of machinations and alliances.
Ian McKellen’s portrayal of Jimmy is compelling, with Marber’s sharp writing giving him witty lines and sharp retorts. However, the film’s focus on Jimmy’s antics often overshadows character development, and it veers into excessive drama rather than providing depth.
The supporting cast, including Gemma Arterton and Mark Strong, delivers strong performances, but they are hampered by a script that emphasizes melodrama over meaningful character exploration. Read More: Sylvester Stallone on ‘Rocky’: “I wrote what I knew.”
The Critic attempts to explore themes of immortality and the consequences of one’s actions but is marred by a rushed pace and contrived plot twists. Despite its potential for a gripping narrative, the film’s exaggerated drama ultimately dulls its impact.
In the end, “The Critic” showcases Ian McKellen’s talent but falls short of creating a truly engaging and thought-provoking story. Source