Because the filmmakers have framed this fame game so much like a conventional love story, the audience, like Goodwin, is seduced by Van Doren's pretty face. This is precisely what the film warns us to guard against, so the experience of watching Quiz Show is supercharged. As the wedge is driven in between what we think (lying is bad) and what we feel (that nice Van Doren boy can't have lied) - Redford and Attanasio make us aware of how readily we accept style divorced from substance. [16 Sept 1994, p.03]
A very well created fresco of this behind the scenes film. It caches in a brilliant way how mass media, this giant agent of socialization manipulates people. It just gives them what they want to see, keeping them away from the real problems of life. Even one of the greatest intellectual figures of that time is trapped in this game, giving us a great example of the strength that surrounds the men we cannot see. They are simply there, playing with the weakness of the human being, turning it in their favour.
"I can't decide if you think too much of me or too little." Redford keeps enlightening me on issues I wasn't previously aware of. Eye-opening (as to what networks could get away with) and entertaining. It is everything you could possibly ask for in a film.
So it is an especial triumph that Quiz Show, directed by Robert Redford and written by Paul Attanasio, turns that footnote of television history into a thoughtful, absorbing drama about moral ambiguity and the affability of evil. Sticking moderately close to the facts and using real names whenever possible, it succeeds by pulling back and looking at the situation through an unexpectedly subtle and wide-ranging lens.
The Applause Sign.
Redford's show is more choreographed for me than it is rigged. And boy what a dance it is, it fiddles with well coordinated multiple characters that puts an elegant and corrupted show on the screen. The director Robert Redford has long productive procedure, that is more thought provoking than it is gripping. And this is where the film wins all the points, with a nail biting personal and emotional crisis that puts you right on the trial is not an experience you usually get. Even the courtroom drama doesn't go accordingly. Redford wisely builds up the entire film to a definite scenario and then when it reaches its last stage, he shakes up the entire base or premise of that topic.
And this vulnerable, hanging in the middle, feeling is a delightful to behold. What was a fight of good vs. evil, is now evolved into something beyond a personal vendetta or the glory that everyone is snatching to conquer it in this show business. And this juxtaposition of an entertaining field as such and what it represents is beautifully colored in the final note of the film. Paul Attanasio's adapted screenplay criticizes its own skillful script, and manages to "check and mate" himself out.
Ralph Fiennes is force to be reckoned with, as he accepts all the undeserved fame but his true self bubbles up in a glossy champagne glass when his father played by Paul Scofield goes head to head, it can leave you shook at the brisk of your seat as they peel each other off naked on screen. The other supporting cast has done a decent work where John Turturro stands alone for his acting that is basically on steroids. Quiz Show is less of a show than it pretends to be, this pack of gusto will make you think twice, before you tune in any show, from now on.
Honestly, I was not expecting to like this one as much as I did, but yet, here I am. Quiz Show is a truly great film from the typically sure handed Robert Redford featuring strong performances from a great cast that includes John Turturro, Rob Morrow, and Ralph Fiennes. A film about quiz shows and how fixed they truly are, this one really manages to create incredible tension throughout as you watch everything unfold. There were numerous scenes that had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what unfolded, which I most certainly did not expect. An interesting film about networks, how they operate, and how they create/market celebrities to the public, Quiz Show is a film that often gets lost in the shuffle of the 1990s, but that is too bad. Ultimately, nothing it reveals is overly groundbreaking, yet it still manages to really captivate its viewers and provide an interesting statement on networks and the idea of celebrity. Overall, Quiz Show is a very well made, well written, and well acted, film that works on multiple levels.
The Quiz Show is slow-paced, clever historical drama that doesn't need to rely on other means of capturing the viewer. The role played by John Turturro as book-smart, but in other ways simple-minded contestant Herb Stempel deserves a separate mention.