Well, it's later now, and I did write that I would cover the topic of a review's purpose in my last post. Here we go.
Why review this? That's the sort of question, or some variation of such, that attacks me when I find myself at a loss for words when I try to describe my reactions to art. Who cares? Is revealing my opinion and putting so much time and effort into explaining it in a public forum without invitation not one of the highest possible forms of arrogance?
The first question truly is a stupid one. Already, when I began at that simple point of deciding whether or not I enjoyed that art, I had reviewed it. Now, I may not go into full blown criticism by considering the art's relation to current events or what the many sources of inspiration are for it and how it comments upon them, but a review, the description of a reaction, is instantaneous and uncontrollable. One cannot deny the review's existence, spoken or otherwise. The only appropriate response is to dive and learn what things terrify you or make you burn with passion. That nagging question of "Why review?" is simple laziness, an unwillingness to fully explore my reaction and discover the nuances to it, why it left me cold, why I was fighting off sleep, why I laughed against my will.
As to publicly publishing such explorations, the question of "Who cares?" is a bit more interesting. In my online wanderings I have found the necessity of movie reviewers questioned as critically-panned summer blockbusters still find ways to make a profit despite record setting production costs and the highest acclaimed independent films are fortunate to break $5 million. Or your reactions can be to art on a much more local level, where opponents will chew you out for not absolutely loving their or their close friends' work, like this fellow. Really, all reviews are completely personal and ought to be written only for oneself. Reviews, as I have already written, are fully considered explorations of our reactions. To try and write for an audience is to write for the lowest common denominator, and we lose what makes the review worthwhile to us when we pursue this path. The reason we make them public is to introduce our language to the greater discussion, give another the words or, at least, a starting to point to elaborate upon their own experience.
2 years ago