In an interview this week, Dustin Hoffman expressed his disappointment in the current state of the film industry. He commented, “…I think that it’s the worst that film has ever been — in the 50 years that I’ve been doing it, it’s the worst.”
There is no doubt that the ‘golden age’ of filmmaking in the traditional sense has seen its day, but is that necessarily a bad thing?
Just as technology has liberated information and information sharing, that same technology has lent a voice to a diverse cross-section of filmmakers by making the art of filmmaking affordable and accessible. It means the monopoly that studios once held over the megaphone that is film is no longer concentrated at the hands of the few.
In the same interview, Mr. Hoffman complains that shrinking budgets are to blame for the lack of quality seen in today’s movie houses. Considering that the ‘Lone Ranger’ cost $225m to make and the Tom Cruise vehicle, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ came in at $200m, it would seem that cost has nothing to do with quality. The truth is it’s about talent. Tight turnarounds and strict budgetary constraints shouldn’t stand in the way of a tight team and dedicated talent bench creating something extraordinary. Some of today’s biggest stars came from humble beginnings that provided them with a quality stage and grateful audience. Jennifer Lawrence’s springboard, ‘Winter’s Bone’ cost $2m to make, while the Oscar winning ‘Dallas Buyer’s Club’ cost $5m and was shot in 25 days.
Quantity shouldn’t be the high bar.