Straight to the heart of the periphery

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"Straight to the heart of the periphery" is a phrase used by Mark Kermode when Simon Mayo, in his choric role, makes a jokey aside that turns out to be a surprisingly insightful remark about a film. For example, when discussing District 9, Simon asked, "was the aliens' satnav broken?" - and Mark Kermode congratulated him on making a point that actually cut to the key thing about the movie.

Another was when Simon asked Mark regarding Synecdoche, New York, "can you just explain the title?" Mark replied, "well done, straight to the heart of the periphery" - the complexity of trying to explain the title, and wondering what it meant and indeed if it meant anything at all, precisely mirroring the film as a whole. Which is apt, because a synecdoche is when a part (in this case the title) stands in for something as a whole (in this case the film). Clever.

And to further illustrate the point, Simon asking Mark to "cut to the chase" when doing the plot setup for Burn After Reading - only for Mark to explain that the problem was that there was no chase to cut to.

At other times, however, Mark is likely to feel that these interventions are somewhat less helpful and will be keen to move on rather than dwell on a passing reference. Notoriously, for example, the discussion about what "Lacanian" is, which ultimately led to the coining of the word "Kermodian".