I wanted to give it a chance. God knows, I love me some JD Salinger. If you meet any one of my friends, they'll tell you it's not Mr. Darcy's fictitious pants I'm after, but Zooey Glass's. So why would I not be drawn to the Salinger documentary?
JD Salinger was one of the world's most famous recluses. The shorthand is this: after rising to fame for Catcher in the Rye, and a few gruesome murders tied to the book, Salinger locked himself away from years until his death. But this is what we always hear.
Don't get me wrong: I was excited by the prospect of a Muckraking Documentary By The Weinstein Company, but upon viewing the trailer I was quickly disgusted. It looks like some cheap CBS special. All these people labeling Salinger off as a one-trick pony, hailing Catcher in the Rye but eschewing the other more illustrious range of his work, not to mention when all these people from Salinger's life--supposedly intimate friends and compatriots--come forward to eviscerate his character like vultures licking an antelope's carcass on the side of the road for a cheap buck. Classy.
Salerno's documentary does not take the enlightened path for the enlightened man Salinger was. As an introvert and bit of a recluse myself, I do not dig the exploitation of the privacy Salinger worked so hard to cultivate. Not only that, but the film does not even paint him from a human perspective: it lends a grotesque and gigantic limelight to the man in a way that probably makes him want to possess a small child Exorcist style at all the people who exploited him.
Seeing all these tepid reviews, and not to mention The Paris Review's drinking game for the film, I am not shocked. Shane's documentary shoots fish in a barrel and takes cheap shots. I will not be seeing Salinger, not if you pay me a million dollars in cash or with all the Illy Coffee in the world, I am not seeing it.
Filed under: Opinion