I've just been to see 'The Social Network', about the creation of Facebook - or so I've read. Just as well I knew that beforehand because at least half the dialogue was totally lost on me. I find this a feature of more and more films these days. Clear diction just doesn't seem to matter as it once did. It's almost as though it's not really that important to understand what they're saying as long as you get the drift, though even that can be a challenge.
From the very opening scene of this film, between two characters in a crowded bar in which something about the Chinese population (I think) was mentioned , but managing to converse without raising their voices to be heard as I would have had to do in similar circumstances, the majority of ensuing scenes were similarly blighted. And yet the film has had such glowing reviews in the U.K. - one critic I read even calling it "probably the single best film of recent years". Did he then manage to catch the dialogue? I find that hard to believe It may indeed be a near-masterpiece, but as it's such a wordy film, where I, for one, couldn't understand what was being said, I'm not in a position to judge.
I don't think it's a case of deteriorating hearing on my part, or of the volume being too low. (In some films the incidental music soundtrack is just too ear-splittingly loud.) I certainly have no difficulty in ordinary face-to-face conversation. I think this practice of poor articulation started in the early 90s - and since then so many films have, for me, been marred by this indecipherable under-the-breath muttering. I really can't understand how anyone can follow it and I honestly wonder whether people are just too embarrassed to admit not having a clue about what the actors are saying for fear of appearing stupid. One theory I have about why this state of affairs came about is that as scenes are normally are shot over several 'takes', after a while everyone on set, the film crew as well as the actors, know the script so well that the latter become lazy or even bored, and no one gives a thought as to if an audience listening for the first time will catch the words.
Watch a film on TV made in the 1980s or before, and you can hear just about every single word - and that applies to American films as well as British, so the problem can't be one of accent.
Maybe 'The Social network' actually is a very good film. I can't really say. But on a scale of personal enjoyment, despite all the praise it's received, my own candid score would be a lowly 3/10.
2 hours ago