|Dewy young love. Leonard DiCaprio and Kate Winslet|
Despite the technology on display, most of the movie just doesn’t seem real or fresh. The two young lovers make out in an automobile in the cargo area, and my mind flashed back to the same scene in Now, Voyager (1942). It’s Hollywood epic-prestige moviemaking without a pumping heart. The thing about movies like Titanic is that they’re so conventional-minded in their thinking and so calculating that they’re boring. There’s nothing playful or extemporaneous in the entire picture—every element is worked out precisely and mechanically beforehand. It’s an entire universe that exists digitally. How can a story about large-scale human tragedy be so machine-tooled and impersonal? That’s what I mean when I say a movie doesn’t breathe: its pores are clogged with contrivance. What’s wrong with a little surprise, a little idiosyncrasy in the telling, especially in such a long film? The camera work, the dialogue, the acting, the lighting, the directing have all had the life squeezed out of them. When the poor ship sinks, it’s like a symbol of the entire movie sinking under the weight of its own production.