The Irish film director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot) once told me that people don't really watch movies; they listen to dialogue to get the gist of the story. For example, if in his movie In America (2003), a little girl enters the New York apartment and exclaims, "It's huge!" then everybody complains that the apartment was too big for the family to afford. The dialogue suggests the review. Sheridan makes a good point. Certainly there were a handful of recent movies that relied on their images more than on dialogue, and they received mostly negative notices, or were flatly ignored (The New World, The Intruder, The Black Dahlia, Marie Antoinette, etc.). But there's another factor in movies that gets even less notice. I promised myself a year ago that I would spend more time listening to musical scores while watching movies to determine how effective they are. But more often than not, after the fact, I don't even remember hearing a score.

categories Columns, Cinematical