Ridley Scott bio falls short
RIDLEY SCOTT: A BIOGRAPHY by Vincent LaBrutto. Published by University Press of Kentucky. 280 pages. $40 retail.
Ridley Scott was already a legend in the advertising field before he made his first feature, The Duellists, in 1977, when he was already almost 40 years old. One could say he made up for lost time because although The Duellists fell victim to bad distribution (Paramount simply had no idea how to market the film), his next two films – Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982) – cemented his reputation as a visual stylist of the first order.
Undoubtedly, Scott has carved out an impressive career, and predominantly on his own terms. If Ridley Scott wants to make a movie, it gets made – on the sheer strength of his name alone. In the case of Thelma & Louise (1991) – a film he initially intended only to produce – or Gladiator (2000), that’s a good thing. In the case of The Counselor (2013) or Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), less so. Despite his standing and a fervent fan-base, he’s not been immune to some big-screen bombs (some very expensive).
For a filmmaker whose career has been so scrupulously analyzed, with entire volumes devoted to individual films alone, Ridley Scott: A Biography can’t help but be a bit of a disappointment. It isn’t a bad read, but it’s not a dynamic read, either. There have been other, better, livelier books on the subject (Ridley Scott: Interviews and The Culture and Philosophy of Ridley Scott come to mind), but with some of the films, you’re as apt to find a more thorough analysis in each film’s Wikipedia entry.
As a biography, this covers the bases, although not in great depth, and as a filmography, it’s competent, if not inspired. Many of the quotes by or about Scott have been culled from other sources, which author Vincent LoBrutto dutifully acknowledges, yet he doesn’t bring a distinctive voice to the book. He’ll note the negative response of critics, but doesn’t include his own personal viewpoint.
There’s the vague but unmistakable air of a missed opportunity within the pages of Ridley Scott: A Biography.
For more information about this title, visit the official University Press of Kentucky website.
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