Books

Review: Night Film

Night Film
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. I found I it to be a totally immersive experience, made more so by the inclusion of the news articles, notes, forum postings, etc. inserted throughout the book. The references to real films and actors and actual news outlets make the novel feel real (i.e. the reference to Marlowe Hughes role in Superman). These aspects are inserted so seamlessly, it makes you want to fact check and see if Marlowe really had a role before you recognize the distorted reality of this book….

While reading the book I did tend to feel like Cordova really is a master of fear and horror and that his films and experiences related would absolutely terrify me. But upon finishing the book, I realized nothing describes is really that terrifying, which is kind of a relief to someone who is not that fond of being scared. You get enough detail about the plot and story of Cordova’s films to really believe they exist, but there’s not enough to provide the heart-stopping terror which is purported to exist in viewers of Cordova films.

There are some interesting points about science versus magic in reality, especially when searching for answers that are not easy to come by. I would have liked to have seen some of that explored a little more fully.
There are some plot issues. For one example, I’m not sure an investigative journalist would really forget about and/or let go of the fact that someone follows him. Certain threads seem to be abandoned for longer than they should be. Part of the ending was also telegraphed fairly early on (at least for me). The meta experience of being IN a Cordova film

The book also uses italics liberally was does get to be a bit annoying, especially since the italics often serve to emphasize the wrong word in a particular statement (or at least the wrong word in my head).

Overall I really enjoyed the book. It is a huge book, but don’t let that scare you off. It reads like a book half its size (the frequent short 1 to 2 page chapters helps with that). The book is ripe for a movie adaptation, almost feels like it was written with that in mind at times ….

Considering the way Inez Gallo lied about Cordova in the resting home. Is it possible that Ashley is still alive? I only ask because of the references to South America and Hopper leaving for South America. Perhaps he found something indicating she was there and he was going to meet her. It was never really explained what he saw/found when he was in the house at The Peak. Also, I’d like to know if you think McGrath will ever go back to his ‘reality’ in NY after finding Cordova.

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