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Is the Criticism of Best Picture Front-Runner ‘Nomadland’ Valid?

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Many people are criticising Chloé Zhao’s Oscar front-runner Nomadland because it doesn’t go out of its way to criticise Amazon’s repugnant work conditions and the way Amazon treats its employees. First of all, I’d like to say what should go without saying: Amazon’s notorious mistreatment of its employees is abhorrent. The criticism that Nomadland needed to address this, though, baffles me. Especially because the people who are criticising Nomadland for merely featuring Amazon are completely ignoring the fact that films also nominated at the Oscars that these same people are praising, like One Night in Miami, Borat 2, and Sound of Metal, are literally made by Amazon. We seem to have lost the idea that a film can just exist as a piece of art. A film is not a documentary (not this kind of film at least), it’s not an article, it’s not an exposé, it’s a piece of art, and it should be crafted like that, not like an article or a non-fiction book that has the time and ability to address every issue it grazes past. A film doesn’t need to say or do anything. Film is an art form, a medium through which many people happen to express an opinion or a criticism of something, but it absolutely is not necessary. Although having said that, people are behaving as though Nomadland is just a vapid 2-hour film that has nothing to say other than be a character study. Nomadland does in fact have a powerful message in it.

Linda May and Fern, from Nomadland, while working at Amazon

In Nomadland, Fern, played by Oscar winning actress, Frances McDormand, spends only a number of weeks working for Amazon and it’s only a few minutes for the audience, it’s one of the many jobs we see her do, the film would be thrown off-kilt if it took five or ten minutes out of its runtime to address these issues. The film as a whole is a commentary on the failures of a capitalist society and how a fixed economy hung many out to dry and forced them into the nomadic life. No-one in the film chose to be a nomad, they had a happy domestic life until it fell apart due to an unstable economy that left those at the bottom to be eaten. These people are happy, yes, but they didn’t choose to be there, they’re making the best out of a bad situation. We see Fern’s sister and brother-in-law, have a happy life in a nice home in a nice neighbourhood, which is a stark contrast to Fern’s van which is constantly on the move. We see Fern and her fellow nomads struggling to survive. Fern even says that she needs to work because the benefits from the government aren’t enough. That is what the film is about, that is what the film is criticising. The very existence of this film is a scathing indictment of capitalism, the mere existence of people who are forced out of their homes and to live in vans or trailers is the criticism people are looking for. 

People claim that Nomadland ‘missed an opportunity’ by not criticising Amazon because they could’ve done it when Fern is working there, or Linda May or Swankie, but just because they could doesn’t mean they should. As I’ve said, film is art, and it doesn’t need to because the film is not a documentary or an op-ed on Amazon’s working conditions, the film is a piece of art. And Amazon is only in the film briefly and it would ruin the tempo to take some time to address that when it isn’t necessary because that isn’t what the film is about. The film is about Fern and her grief over her husband and her adapting to this new walk of life into which she has been thrust, not that Amazon doesn’t treat its workers well. Just because Amazon’s ethics and business practices have been in question very publicly lately doesn’t meant that Nomadland needed to address it. Nomadland is a poetic character study, not a non-fiction piece of journalism, that’s what the book is. Jessica Bruder’s book on which the film is based does take time to criticise and tell stories of people who worked at Amazon under these horrendous conditions. The book is a non-fiction journalistic masterpiece (I recommend it to everyone), but the film is not, and should not be, a film about Amazon’s malpractice because it would take time away from Fern and her story.

Complaining that Nomadland doesn’t deal with the way Amazon treats its workers is like complaining that David Fincher’s Mank doesn’t deal with racism or homophobia that was so rampant in Hollywood at the time. Mank takes place during an era rife with racism and homophobia and in an industry rife with racism and homophobia and yet we see none of it. And no-one complained that it didn’t touch upon it, because the film isn’t about that, Mank is about Herman ‘Mank’ Mankiewicz. And Mank is entirely about that era of Hollywood, Amazon only features in about three minutes of Nomadland‘s 1-hour 50-minute runtime, it’s a fleeting moment, we see Fern in many other jobs. It’s about Fern, about her life falling apart both personally and financially. We see her using a bucket as a toilet a few feet away from where she sleeps, right next to where she cooks and eats, and a few feet away from where she sits all day as she drives to find another place to stay because she has no permanent home. How can people see these scenes of Fern and not see that this is the criticism they want, Nomadland criticises capitalism and, by association, does in fact criticise Amazon; all these nomads lost their jobs because of huge corporations.

Overall, while I do not agree with this criticism, it is not without merit. As I’ve said, Amazon’s working conditions are detestable and is something that does need to have a light shone on and be discussed. So, I do understand people’s desire to see more of that in media, I just disagree that Nomadland is the place to do it. Criticising it because it doesn’t explicitly condemn Amazon despite the film as a whole being about the failures of a capitalist society and that older people especially are casualties of capitalism, seems tedious rather than heartfelt to me. There is a deep message and criticism within this film, it’s presented in a visually beautiful way so it’s easy to miss but the criticism people are craving to see is sewn into every frame of Nomadland.

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DC FanDome | First Look At ‘Black Adam’ – Starring Dwayne Johnson

“Five thousand years ago, Kahndaq was a melting pot of cultures, wealth, power, and magic. Yet, most of us have nothing, except for the chains around our necks. Kahndaq needed a hero, instead, they got me. I did what needed to be done and they imprisoned me for it. Now, five thousand years later, I’m free and I give you my word… No one will ever stop me again.”

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DC FanDome gave us our first look at DC’s upcoming ‘Black Adam.’ starring Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Shahi, Noah Centineo, Pierce Brosnan and Aldis Hodge.

Five thousand years ago, Kahndaq was a melting pot of cultures, wealth, power, and magic. Yet, most of us have nothing, except for the chains around our necks. Kahndaq needed a hero, instead, they got me. I did what needed to be done and they imprisoned me for it. Now, five thousand years later, I’m free and I give you my word… No one will ever stop me again.Black Adam

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam [Credit: New Line Cinema]

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam [Credit: New Line Cinema]

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Gotham Knights Court of Owls Story Trailer and Behind-the-Scenes Featurette

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During DC FanDome last year Warner Bros. Games Montréal revealed their newest title at the Hall of Heroes which was Gotham Knights. Now returning to DC FanDome once again due to a delayed release and now releasing in 2022, they reveal a thrilling new story trailer which focuses on one of my favourite Gotham Criminal organisations, The Court of Owls.



The story trailer for the upcoming open-world, third-person action RPG features the game’s main antagonist, the fabled Court of Owls, a secret society made up of Gotham City’s wealthiest families. The trailer also introduces Oswald Cobblepot (also known as The Penguin), the infamous DC Super-Villain who seemingly knows important details about this omnipresent silent predator and the threat it poses to Gotham and its new guard of DC Super Heroes – Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin.

© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

Also as an extra treat to those who tuned into their presentation we got to see a behind-the-scenes featurette for Gotham Knights, with commentary from Jim Lee (Comic Book Artist, Publisher & Chief Creative Officer at DC), Scott Snyder (Writer & Co-Creator of “The Court of Owls”), Greg Capullo (Comic Book Artist & Co-Creator of “The Court of Owls”), Patrick Redding (Gotham Knights Creative Director, Warner Bros. Games Montréal) and Ann Lemay (Gotham Knights Narrative Director, Warner Bros. Games Montréal), who all expand on the Courts of Owls origins, lore and inspiration in bringing this elusive enemy to the interactive world of Gotham Knights.

© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

Gotham Knights allows players to step into the roles of Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin, a new guard of trained DC Super Heroes who must rise up as the protectors of Gotham City in the wake of Batman’s death. The game will be playable either solo or as a two-player, online cooperative experience.

To learn more about Gotham Knights, visit GothamKnightsGame.com

© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc
© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

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Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

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“Don’t Be A Hero.”

Warner Bros. Games and DC today unleashed a new story trailer for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, the genre-defying, action-adventure third-person shooter in development from Rocksteady Studios, creators of the critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham series.



The latest look at the game debuted tonight at DC FanDome. The brand-new story trailer sheds light on the origins of Amanda Waller’s infamous Task Force X (a.k.a. the Suicide Squad) as Harley QuinnDeadshotCaptain Boomerang and King Shark grudgingly embark on their mission to take down the World’s Greatest DC Super Heroes, The Justice League.

Featuring an original narrative set within an expansive open-world Metropolis, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League puts the four DC Super-Villains on a collision course with an invading alien force and DC Super Heroes who are now laser-focused on destroying the city they once vowed to protect. All the while, the squad must be mindful of the lethal explosives implanted in their heads that could go off at the first sign of defiance.

Squad: Kill the Justice League will be available worldwide in 2022 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC. 

© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

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