As we move ever further into the streaming age, the question of what exactly constitutes a film continues to blur. No longer tethered to considerations of exhibition, method of release, or even a non-serial format, the “movie” exists, definitionally speaking, at its murkiest moment. Are the multi-part, chapter-based Jon Bois projects films? What about the one-off, feature-length “specials” from megacorps, like say Marvel’s Werewolf by Night? Or how about auteur-driven miniseries, like Olivier Assayas’ Irma Vep adaptation or David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return? Is the mode of consumption a more useful marker than the form consumed in the era of binge? Arguably, the lines aren’t just blurred, but the act of delineation itself an antiquated gesture. Usefulness of the terminology aside, Showtime’s Murder in Big Horn, which was listed as a “Feature” for its Sundance premiere but comes packaged in three parts, is a project incapable of straddling that line, falling decidedly into the realm of episodic television, and evincing clear problems within the context of that form.
Published as part of InRO Weekly — Volume 1, Issue 5.