Alexander Payne blasts 'damn long' movies

Alexander Payne thinks that modern films are too long and has called on directors to be economical with storytelling.

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Alexander Payne thinks movies should be short and sharp
Alexander Payne thinks movies should be short and sharp

Alexander Payne has criticised "damn long" modern movies.

The Oscar-winning director took aim at films that have overly long runtimes amid debate about the 206-minute length of Martin Scorsese's new picture 'Killers of the Flower Moon'.

Speaking at the Middleburg Film Festival, Alexander said: "You want your movie to be as short as possible. There are too many damn long movies these days."

The 62-year-old director does feel that some movies can justify marathon runtimes but says that stories need to be told tightly to make the films a success.

Payne said: "If your movie's three and a half hours at least let it be the shortest possible version of a three and a half hour movie. Like 'The Godfather Part II' and 'Seven Samurai' are super tight three and a half hour and they go by like that. So there's no ipso facto judgement about length."

The 'Downsizing' director explained that he puts "economy" at the centre of his approach to filmmaking.

He said: "Film is a constant search for economy. You want the screenplay as short as possible. You want the acting as brisk as possible, given whatever the basic rhythm of the film is. And then in the editing you want it to be as short as it can possibly be, but no shorter."

Payne explained that he even wanted to trim down his acclaimed new movie 'The Holdovers'.

He said: "It's still a little long. We started screening it, and (at) the first couple festivals I was looking at the programme, and it said 133 minutes. I had to call up the studio and go, 'I don't think it's 133 minutes'. I thought we had gotten it down to around 124. 'No, it's 133 after the credits roll'."

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