As of today, Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn is primarily known for three things. One, writing smart, sage, fair-minded assessments of films as they come along. Two, being one of the New York Film Critics Circle members who allegedly lobbied to give Best Actress trophies to Support The Girls‘ Regina Hall in 2018, and to Never Rarely Sometimes Always‘ Sidney Flanigan last December, and to bestow the NYFCC’s 2020 Best Film award to First Cow. And three, becoming possibly the first top-ranked film critic to actively push for the end of the career of a major-league filmmaker. Not saying this or that movie stinks, but “this guy needs to be erased, Goodfellas-style.”
I’m not certain if critics of past decades have advocated for this or that career to be fully and finally killed. Many looked the other way when certain screenwriters were blacklisted in the late ’40s and ’50s, of course, but that was a different thing. Maybe some influential critic of 60 or 70 years ago actually wrote “it’s time for the career of John Garfield or Abraham Polonsky or Carl Foreman to be suffocated” and I simply haven’t read about it. I’m just saying that I went “whoa” when I read the headline above Kohn’s article. Because actively lobbying for the final eradication of a filmmaker’s career…well, Kohn’s rep before today has always been that of a congenial, nebbishy, mild-mannered fellow…even-toned, comme ci comme ca, let the chips fall, roll with the tremors.