Critics have always had a problem with Ridley Scott. In this volume, remarkably the first ever book-length study of Scott's films, Paul M. Sammon puts this down to the director's links with commerce: "many pundits view Ridley Scott as too successful, too technical, or too mercantile to take seriously". In this slim volume, the author--who has also written books on Blade Runner
and the Alien
Trilogy--attempts to demonstrate that Scott is in fact an auteur
worthy of critical recognition.
Sammon takes a chronological approach to his subject, beginning with the director's youth and his early success in television advertising, before moving on to a film-by-film analysis of Scott's work from The Duellists to G.I. Jane. Each film is afforded a brief description of its writing, casting and production, together with details of its critical and commercial reception. Anxious to counter claims of "style over substance", Sammon also draws the reader's attention to important themes in the director's work and features of his style. On the whole, Sammon succeeds in persuading the reader that there is more to Scott's work than many critics allow, even if the writer's friendship with the director does sometimes cloud his judgement. With this in mind, the reprinting of the Variety reviews for each of the films offers a welcome sense of critical balance, as well as providing useful lists of cast and crew. --John Oates
About the Author
Paul M. Sammon has written for The Los Angeles Times, The American Cinematographer, Cahiers Du Cinema and Cinifantastique. His fiction has appeared in many collections and he is editor of the best selling American Splatterpunks series. As a film maker Paul M. Sammon has produced, edited and directed dozens of documentaries on films such as Platoon, Dune and Robocop. He is the author of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner and his latest book is about the making of the movie Starship Trooper directed by Paul (Robocop) Verhoeven.