Book Review: Richard Ayoade- The Grip Of Film


Writer-director, presenter and actor Richard Ayoade is a fervent cineaste. Having adapted Joe Dunthorne’s Submarine and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Double  for the big screen, plus being a massive fan of French cinema, Terence Malick and lesser- known British work, Ayoade, under the Weinstein-like, blowhard alter-ego  Gordy LaSure, parodies the OTT tropes of the action genre with impressive verbal dexterity and an eye for the absurd. Even the footnotes raise chuckles.

Road House, The Terminator, Predator, Above The Law, Under Siege, and countless others are savagely critiqued for their casual misogyny, violence and racism, with toe-curling examples, such as superhuman strength; threatened prison rape, younger trophy wives waiting to be rescued, and all supporting foreign cast members inevitably portraying tough guys and terrorists.

The pernicious stupidity and popularity of such formulaic cinema from such a knowledgeable writer as Ayoade is thus elevated to ridiculous heights. This parodic approach works so well, rendering Schwarzenegger, Statham, Stallone and Seagal as godheads of towering intellectual genius, and places their films  comfortably next to cultural touchstones as Citizen Kane, Badlands, A Bout De Soufflé etc.

Gordy LaSure’s sexism and entitlement leaks through his film appraisals, making this “A- W of film” a comic exaggeration mired in a similar kind of  vein as Ayoade’s TV characters from Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, The IT Crowd and  The Crystal Maze. 

Fans of Ayoade’s special patented dry wit will love it; those who eschew irony, jog on. Or we’ll send Seagal and his ponytail of PAIN round…

Available through Faber and Faber.


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