Thomas Goss discusses composer-film specialist Ken Russell & his penchant for over-the-top portrayals, and reviews other films in which hysteria trumps drama.
Some geniuses make complete chaos out of their lives, or are driven to the edge by circumstance and the force of their own personalities.
This conflict becomes so interesting that its narrative shorthand eclipses any rational view of the genius’s life.
What’s worse is the inherent middle-browed bigotry: if some creative sparks suffered from a touch of madness, then all creative people have a touch of madness. It goes with the job, we’re told, or maybe it’s the actual source of inspiration itself.