Film Review: Quiz Show

It should really be a surprise that a magazine about movies produced by a national cinema chain should be a good source for filming films that have somehow managed to pass me by but once again, Vue Cinema’s monthly free magazine has come up trumps. Having introduced me to Bringing Out The Dead at the start of January, this time around it’s welcomed into my life Quiz Show. A mid-nineties film from Robert Redford about the Quiz Show Scandals that rocked America in the 1950s as the nation became obsessed with television.

Going into Quiz Show I know absolutely nothing about it, I didn’t realise that it was actually based on true events and a real life scandal. I didn’t even watch the trailer. I simply looked at the critics rating on Metacritic, and combined with the review in the Vue Magazine (and a low price tag) pushed buy.

What I met was a stunning film with a gripping plot that twists and turns and wriggles as it moves forward. As you go through the film it breathtakingly draws you into the scandal to a point where however, morally bankrupt you know their actions are, you for some reason don’t actually mind. I think it’s telling and poignant that the most powerful line in the film is in reference to how it’s the money and not the show that keeps people watching.

Not realising as I watched it that it was based on a true scandal, I kept thinking to myself that it felt like it must be true, it just echoes that exact steps you expect the scandal, the investigation and the reveal to take in real life and that is a credit to the production of the film. Whether it’s the stellar cast, all of which deserve credit but for me, none more so than John Turturro who nails his role, and gives arguably his best performance I’ve seen; or the production of the film that knew how to take you from A to B lining up the questions and giving you the answers. At no point did I feel like the film was trying to sway the argument or take a side. It just sets up the game and lets you win.

There is, however, one problem with the film. It’s length. It feels longer than it actually is. It’s an absorbing watch and there isn’t really any padding or filler to the story which you feel could be easily cut but sadly, by the time it’s drawing its conclusions and coming to an end I was starting to feel slightly drained and tired. Not to a point that I was switching off or giving up on the film but in a way that meant that you could see where the film was heading and it’s not quite so much fun when you already know the answer to the questions it’s waiting to ask.

For me Quiz Show, is definitely the type of film you can watch more than once. I am sure it will become one of those films that will sit in the collection and come out once in a while when I need a night of relaxing in front of a piece of film that’s beautifully shot and polished but doesn’t tax the brain, being essentially more informative than thoughtful.

I wouldn’t say it’s a classic but if you’re a fan of films beyond the big “summer blockbuster” types search it out, I promise you won’t regret it.

8 out of 10 stars (8 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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