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Date TimeOctober 29, 2019
VoiceThe backlash to the streaming service’s speedwatch feature exposes Netflix’s identity crisis: should it serve cinema, or just get rich trying?
Roma, Benny Hill style: why film-makers hate Netflixs fast-forward button
‘It is what it is,” says the union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) during a tense pow-wow in the forthcoming gangster drama The Irishman. To which the mildly perplexed crime boss Anthony Provenzano (Stephen Graham) replies: “What is it?”
The same question might well be asked of Netflix. On one hand, the streaming service has stumped up the readies to enable some of the world’s finest film-makers to work without cuts or compromises: not only Martin Scorsese, who couldn’t get the $160m needed to make The Irishman from anywhere else, but Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), David Michôd (The King) and Fernando Meirelles (The Two Popes). But then Netflix goes and spoils it all by saying something stupid like: “Who has time to watch movies anyway?”

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