A close call. I'll skew positive because Verbinski the director regularly delivers odd, exciting images even when Verbinski the co-writter is helplessly spinning his wheels.
There's no percentage in trying to read minds, particularly when those minds belong to film critics. Nevertheless, I'm expecting this one to be woefully undervalued in the popular press as "minor Coen Brothers."
My take: It's fast on its feet, endlessly surprising, and reliably hilarious. Comedies this consistent and this considered don't come around often. It's a sideways take on classic Hollywood history, to be sure, but the balance it strikes between parody and homage is one of many signs that this is something special.
Just the greatest. I never seem to give it quite enough credit. Each revisit brings more resonant moments, more unforgettable images. This time the strange simplicity of it all--particularly its ideas on the precarious place of children and the other little things of the world-- was almost unspeakably moving. The throw away moment following the local hangman back into his home almost had me in tears.