The Strawberry Criterion: The Last Jedi

As there is matter and anti-matter, can there be film and anti-film? If the satisfaction of certain aesthetic and formal criteria can be said to make a film “recognizable,” what would an absolute failure to satisfy those same criteria look like? Good, bad, and mediocre art all have their distinguishing characteristics, but what about the absence of art? And what if, for film, this absence wasn’t a blank screen but a full one, overrun with the unseeable, the unspeakable, the absence of everything that a film should be? Where there was once genuine feeling, there is manufactured nostalgia. Where there was narrative coherence, there is diegetic chaos. Canned humor plays like tragedy, serious scenes comes across as laughable. Characters shed substance until they’re simply names, more arbitrary nonsense shouted amongst the noise. When does film become anti-film? Probably near the end of Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, when an aged Luke Skywalker, in slow motion and extreme close-up, limbos below the energy blade of a lightsaber. This is, somehow, the best part of the movie. So may the Force choke all involved. Prequels were better.

Final Strawberry Verdict: DNE Strawberries out of 5