Skip to main content

Distributed for Reaktion Books

Second Sight

The Selected Film Writing of Adam Mars-Jones

Distributed for Reaktion Books

Second Sight

The Selected Film Writing of Adam Mars-Jones

The film review can be a little work of art, not just a consumer guide—as is manifest in this collection by one of the United Kingdom’s foremost doyennes of the contemporary silver screen. Covering more than thirty years of film releases, celebrated critic Adam Mars-Jones guides us through the most entertaining, most appalling, and most fantastic films of his viewing lifetime, interweaving his original film reviews with new insights and reflections.

Mars-Jones answers the questions that no other critic has even bothered to ask. What is Twister really about? How many Steven Spielbergs are there? (Spoiler: he counts thirteen). How many of them are worth anything? Who had the greatest slow-burn career in the movies? (Clue: he taught Montgomery Clift how to roll a cigarette.) And which science-fiction film features the most haunting use of slime? Funny, combative, and revealing, Second Sight is a celebration of the artform that maintains the strongest hold on the modern imagination.

352 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Film Studies

Reaktion Books image

View all books from Reaktion Books


"Mars-Jones’s Second Sight, a collection of film journalism from across thirty years, became an instant candidate for my desert island book."

Leo Robson | New Statesman, "Books of the Year"

"Just as he doesn’t write reviews like anyone else, so it follows that Second Sight rejects the orthodoxy of the criticism collection. Though it draws from around three decades of work, predominantly at the Independent and the Times Literary Supplement, it is not merely a sheaf of disinterred cuttings. Its distinguishing feature is the abundant new material which links the pieces, evolving far beyond the function of connective tissue. The effect is rather as if a DJ’s between-song patter had unexpectedly become as dynamic as the dancefloor-filling hits themselves. . . . Phrasing and analysis never fall below a level of shimmering fastidious excellence."

Sight and Sound

"Mars-Jones’s Second Sight brings together reviews and essays written as a film reviewer for the Independent, the New Statesman, and, more recently, the Times Literary Supplement. The book alternates between these pieces and a running commentary with an element of memoir. Mars-Jones recalls atmospheric basement screenings in 1990s Soho, dictating his copy over the phone and the vicissitudes of working for different papers as the editorial winds changed. Formative movie-going experiences are evoked, recalling the memoirist mode of Kid Gloves, his book about his father. . . . A fine contribution to the tradition of intellectual film reviewing."

Times Literary Supplement

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press