Voir Review 2021 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew
Voir (or, as stylized by Netflix, VOIR) is a six-episode series of short video essays about how film has affected the lives of the writers who have penned them, as well as the narrators who read them in voice over (if they’re different). David Fincher and David Prior are the executive producers, and they employ a number of directors and writers to produce these essays, incorporating clips from the movie or movies that are being discussed.
The first episode, written by Stone, is about “The Summer of the Shark;” in other words, when Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Jaws swam into theaters in 1975. Stone tells the story from a personal perspective, of how she and her sister would go to the the theater to see it and stay there all day. She was only ten at the time, but she notes that Jaws ignited her love of film because Spielberg didn’t only shoot the film perfectly but he told a great story, as well.
But going to see the film was also an escape for them, as her mother was in an abusive relationship that often meant that the two of them were subject to getting abused themselves. To Stone, that ability for Jaws to sweep her away from all that is as big a contributor to her love of film as anything Spielberg did.
In the other episodes, Tony Zhou talks about Lady Vengeance and the issue of revenge; Drew McWeeny discusses unlikable protagonists and Lawrence Of Arabia; frequent Decider contributor Walter Chaw talks about 48 Hrs., race and interracial buddy movies; Glen Keane talks about representation and beauty standards in animation; and Taylor Ramos talks about how movies and television differed in the first 50 years of TV’s existence, and how that difference has morphed since The Sopranos debuted 22 years ago.
Voir plays out mostly like a visual NPR story or something we might hear on a narrative podcast. It’s one of hundreds upon hundreds of similar paeans to the magic of cinema and how it influences people’s lives. It’s pretentious as hell, but so are all of those other paeans. But what we wonder is what Fincher and Prior are trying to actually accomplish with these video essays.
Some seem personal, others seem explanatory, and still others seem to be a combination of the two. But if Voir is aimed at film buffs, most of the explanatory stuff is old news.
Did we need to know that Jaws was the first of the big blockbusters, that the mechanical shark Spielberg used broke down a lot, and that the film would look cheesy by 2020s standards? No. But Stone’s personal story of how the film helped she and her sister escape from a treacherous situation at home was something we could latch onto.
Prior, who directed this segment, decided to show, not tell about this part via the reenactments, which in a way is an interesting choice; he made a mini movie to explain the author’s attachment to Jaws. But it also comes off similarly to a reality show reenactment, especially when awkward teenage boys at the movie theater stare down the blouses of the now-developed Stone and her sister.
The more explanatory the episode, the less impact. The TV vs. Film episode is especially infuriating, given the quick cuts between all the scenes shown from various productions in both media, and at times Ramos sounds like she’s reciting from a Wikipedia page rather than drawing on her own observations and study of each form. In other words, she tells the audience things that they either already knew, could easily research, or have read in a thousand thinkpieces over the years. What’s so special about putting her in a dark movie theater or darkened apartment to watch her watch these scenes while she gives those observations?