Mashable’s Robert Daniels has posted a strong disapproval of Sam Mendes’ Empire of Light. It’s fair, I think, to call this a racial admonishment piece, as Daniels has voiced a fundamental objection to older white directors “fumbling” films about black characters — i.e., having the temerity to make such films in the first place.
Paul Rai’s approving comment [below] also laments James Gray’s Armageddon Time, another instance of an older white director “using black characterization as foundation fodder for [a white] director’s ethos.”
What do you think Daniels is talking about when he calls Empire of Light “a contrived, politically trite exercise”? He obviously doesn’t like the brief romantic pairing of Olivia Colman‘s Hillary and Michael Ward‘s Stephen, and he regards Mendes’ decision to merge an older, white, mentally anxious lady with a young, good-looking lad of color as a “trite” attempt to inject some kind of current cultural flavor.
In short, Daniels is saying, older white directors (Green Book’s Peter Farrelly included) need to stay 100 yards away from period sagas involving black characters, and 500 yards away if the story involves interracial sex.