Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Popcorn: Ben Elton, May 11—16, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦◊◊
Ben Elton turns the sharp end of his pen towards slasher movies in Popcorn. This darkly comic tale sees the convergence of celebrated movie director Bruce Delamitri and murdering psychopaths Wayne and Scout.
Very much the theme of this novel is society’s aversion to responsibility. Bruce is facing accusations that his violent films breed violent acts, a la Sandy Hook and Batman Begins, which he refutes. Essentially, is TV a reflection or influence on society?
It’s a complex issue and Elton explores it well. There are strong arguments put forth by each side, though you get an idea of what his own views are.
The characters are less memorable than in Chart Throb or Dead Famous. Truthfully, the cast is very functional and plot based. The pace is steady but doesn’t build any tension or reach a climax that seems in any way different from the rest of the book.
Occasionally, Elton switches from prose to scripting the action along with directors’ notes. It’s an odd experiment and doesn’t add anything. In fact, it’s a little strange.
A very witty and typically accurate examination of popular culture, Popcorn captures the zeitgeist of our buck passing, blame shifting era and creates a very readable book on the way.