Director: D.W. Griffith
Year Released: 1916
Griffith's formal apology for the repulsive Birth of a Nation ("Sorry about all that KKK saving the world stuff and blacks being the devil incarnate") has the same gorgeous visual style and absolutely jaw-dropping sets - the attack on Babylon is certainly one of the greatest sequences ever filmed - but in this case the problem isn't with the ethics, it's with the storytelling, and his 'landmark' way of interweaving four stories together - often haphazardly cutting from one right to the other in a few seconds - isn't as 'original' as it is 'irritating,' drawing attention away from the tales themselves and back on Griffith, who must have given himself a hearty pat-on-the-shoulder for coming up with the plan. It's now very clear to me that his eye for detail and stylish excess mask elementary storytelling skills - to make sure you don't forget the movie is about 'intolerance,' the title cards tell you about it every few minutes. Heavy-handed and loaded with a feeling of self-importance, it has nevertheless won critical acclaim.