September 18, 2007
Toronto and NYFF preview. The Man From London."[W]hy is The Man from London my disappointment of the day?" asks J Robert Parks. "Because images and slow pacing are all [Béla] Tarr has this time around." "My qualms with Tarr have always concerned his view of the world, which is too misanthropic for my tastes," writes Darren Hughes. "Which is probably why his latest film is my favorite of the three [he's seen, the other two being Damnation and Satantango]." Updated through 9/23. "I was perhaps taken aback most by Tarr's precision, by his sense of rhythm," writes MS Smith of one of his "favorite films from this year's TIFF." "He begins or ends a shot and has characters enter and exit the frame at exactly those moments that reveal something about a character's experiences or feelings, that move the plot one plodding step forward, that place a vital punctuation mark on a visual statement: a panning shot that ends with a moment of joy as men dance in the bar; a lengthy close-up of a woman that conveys her struggles with loss and dignity; metaphorical imagery throughout that suggest changes in Maloin's destiny. The craftsmanship seemed seamless and, honestly, left me amazed, sitting after the house lights went up, trying to amass what I had just seen." "The Man from London is moral rot captured with religious fervor, a journey from an abandoned (all-the-world's-a-)stage to a hard-hitting final close-up of grievous loss internalized," writes Keith Uhlich at the House Next Door. "From theater to cinema in other words, punctuated by a perhaps damning, perhaps redemptive fade-to-white." "[B]asically, Tarr has taken a genre premise involving robbery, murder, and ill-gotten money, and deliberated sucked all the fun out of it," writes Scott Tobias at the AV Club. Earlier: The Cannes reviews. Update, 9/23: "The Man From London somehow manages to make its real-life Portuguese locations feel as generically sterile as a movie set; instead of inhabiting the authentic grime and dolor of local Hungarian life, Tarr seems to be working in a pan-European purgatory through which his elaborate camera movements are more clinical than communitarian," writes Kevin Lee at Slant. "As such, this at times robotically-executed story depicting misguided greed as a palliative for existential emptiness has more in common with the Coens' The Man Who Wasn't There than Tarr's more heartfelt efforts."
Posted by dwhudson at September 18, 2007 10:14 AM