Sometimes I come across a review that is so complete, so thorough, and so well-written that it really needs nothing from me but a recommendation. Steven Greydanus’s look back at Peter Weir’s masterful thriller Witness is one of those.

But never mind: I’m going to do something more than a recommendation. I’m starting a new post tag: Looking Closer Exemplars. What does that mean? It means if I had a book containing one review for every movie, this is — to date — the review I’d pick. I’m gong to be on the lookout for more of these.

With that, I give you over to a reviewer (a key witness, if you will) whose thoughts on film — and many other subjects besides — I will always give close attention. I’m grateful for Steven’s work, and even more grateful to call him a friend.

Here’s the review.

And here’s how it starts:

There is not a wasted or unnecessary shot in Peter Weir’s “Witness,” or a superfluous line of dialogue. Like the great barn-raising scene late in the second act, the film’s construction is both efficient and unhurried, functional and beautiful. Like the barn, it is a noble but wistful landmark; there is something defiantly out of step about it, even in the Hollywood landscape of 1985, and certainly today.




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