Joel Kinnaman

REVIEW: Robocop Is the Only Real Superhero

Paul Verhoven’s original Robocop was one of the first films I ever reviewed. Well, saying it was a ‘review’ is being generous, particularly in view of what my film criticism has evolved to: analytic breakdowns of other fimmakers’ work that serve as chapters for an ever-expanding, auto-didactic guide for my own work as a filmmaker. My reviews back then were more like enthusiastic or scathing write-ups in miserable prose; I could smith a sentence or two in letters, but I had no idea what I was doing in articles. I still shudder when I remember the crap I flung out there in my early twenties. In print, in public. The shame.

It’s unlikely that particular review survives. All that remains in my memory bank is impressionistic snapshots of the film, the feelings I had when I left the screening room. Prior to Robocop, the only superhero I’d ever had was Gandalf; many a broom handle was turned into a magical staff that smote seething balrogs and orcish hoards,

Modern Crime Dramas and the Essential Unstable Detective

There was a time when the hero detective was at most deeply eccentric; otherwise, he had ardent purpose, he was infallible, he was more brilliant than me or you — it was only a question of when and how he would solve the mystery. That’s not the case any more.

I’m not a scholar of the genre, but it would seem to me that the progenitor of the character was Sherlock Holmes,