The Crowd

The Crowd ★★★★★

"The world can't stop because your baby's sick!"

No, the world can't stop, and doesn't. Vidor's film captures this reality, life's unstoppable forward-movement, with such power that it took me completely off guard. We can trace the cross-section of any life, as Vidor has brilliantly done here, and the affective registers will surface naturally, almost spontaneously... But this film is no proponent of universalist claims. Instead, it deals explicitly and openly with the exceptionalist fantasy borne from capitalism, and the ways in which that enterprise forecloses individual futures. I love the way the film builds this brilliant critique into its narrative, but I'm also taken by its broader reach. Especially that haunting final shot and its seemingly boundless implications: a sea of bodies rocking and jolting in unison, almost endless, all of them contained within systems both artificial and organic. Because, when it comes down to it, this film's as much about the bigger picture (forgive me for suggesting themes of the "cosmic" yet again) as, say, the works of Edward Yang, or Malick's The Tree of Life. A monumental movie, one of the best I've ever seen. Made me feel small.

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