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The Man From London (Bilingual)

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Miroslav Krobot, Tilda Swinton, János Derzsi
  • Directors: Béla Tarr
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: eOne Films
  • Release Date: Aug. 24 2010
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #45,784 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If the above title intrigues you enough, then see this film. Otherwise stay clear. Very, very clear of it (you will hate it). Gorgeous black & white cinematography and practically nothing else other than a heavy atmosphere. No action. Very little dialogue and just a little more conventional than this directors' other works. Enjoy. Or not. I did.
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Format: DVD
I'd had my eye on this film for a couple years: being an anglophile I was drawn by the word 'London'. As it transpires, there is nothing 'London' about this film other than the fact that someone from London is involved at one point. This is one of those dark and quiet films that manage to keep your attention thanks to the fact that you're not quite sure what is going on. Did I like it? Yes...but more because it is so dedicated to being what it is. And it's 'foreign'. Would I watch it again? Hmmm... That said it was satisfying viewing. But I do wish it had been set in London.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ff7ecb4) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fdf3618) out of 5 stars A great, underrated film by Bela Tarr Sept. 24 2011
By KintaroOe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Man From London is honestly one of my favorite efforts from Bela Tarr, easily on my short list of great directors. It's been savaged by fans and critics alike, mostly for two reasons. First, it's the first Tarr film to be exposed to a wide audience upon release. Finally his buzz had reached the point where this film's premiere was an actual event, so a lot more people who weren't Tarr fanatics saw it and slammed it. Let's face it, he's one of the most divisive directors of all time, and 90% of the general audience would probably walk out of any of his films 5 minutes in.

The second problem is that it's a really hard film to pin down, even if you are a Tarr lover. The Man From London feels far more consciously experimental than his previous work. Liberated from his native setting of Hungary, he creates a more manufactured sort of reality for his characters. Atmospherics are piled on, almost like the whole movie takes place in some moody landscape painting. My suspicion is that this put his fans off guard from the get go, and resulted in a lower reception. But that's really what sets it apart in my mind. The mood is so incredibly thick that you can almost literally reach out and cut the fog with a knife while watching. The usual Tarr trademarks are here (endless 10 minute takes, black and white photography, eternally miserable characters), but little touches make this effort surprisingly suspenseful. Several scenes get you used to watching a whole lot of nothing, so when a brawl breaks out in the distance it's a shock to the system. One crucial event occurs behind closed doors. Several minutes are spent regarding that door, and my breath was held for practically all of them.

Like most films, this one isn't perfect. One scene involves Maloin buying clothes from two fast-talking tailors whose comic relief is as out of place as an Adam Sandler cameo. It's the one moment where the film's mood is totally broken, and it takes a minute or two to get back into the swing of things. Also, a few scenes in the bar seem to contain a cameo from the drunks in Satantango, which is just a bit odd (this might be unintentional, since Tarr uses the same actors to play similar parts in all of this movies). Still, this movie has lived in my memories ever since I first watched it. The opening slow, slow, sloooooooow pan up the front of a ship sets the tone, and by the end of it, I had surrendered to Tarr's mastery. Two hours later, I was a happy man.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ff7b690) out of 5 stars Rhythmic existence. April 1 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
It was a tedious and unfulfilling day. I was preparing to go to bed, reading Amazon reviews in preparation for another Tarr film I'm to watch ('Almanac of Fall') when I learned disappointedly that 'Man from London' only received a one-star rating from its reviewers. I couldn't turn away from this injustice, a small but salient tragedy that'd occlude a peaceful descent into sleep like a pea under the mattress. For 'Man from London' as I was for 'Shirin', the only film review on my profile so far, I will be the righter of wrongs and present a perspective whose unbalanced admiration will serve as the counterweight to the pessimistic reality of audience quality (the problem of perfect needs and wants).

The plot is simple. A man whose name I can't remember (Miroslav Krobot) finds a suitcase full of money tossed into the harbour after observing a criminal transaction gone wrong, watching from his observation post in the dock he works at. This money provides the financial freedom necessary to elevate his daughter's (Erika Bók) miserable condition in life. His wife (Tilda Swinton) doesn't know about the money but is upset by the changes it engenders. They all live in a seemingly-modern town simmering with feudalist, medieval tendencies like the daughter's employment with the shopkeeper.

I don't believe that describing the twists and turns of the plot in detail spoils the viewing of a film, because if the movie was formed properly then the experience of watching it will be self-sufficient, and if the movie depended on those twists to entertain, it was formed improperly and not worth watching anyway. That is why some are disposable, and some indispensable. However, I don't know which of these camps You, the two or three people reading this review, belong to, so I won't force my ideology on you.

Tarr's films exist as if they were transported into our modern world from a place and time, mid-century Europe, not distant but unreachable. His atypical movies aren't representative of that, or any, time and place, but it would be reasonable for them to have been conceived then and not now. The black and white cinematography and the dubbing are the best examples. The dubbing has been called out for being bad, but though the lips of the actors, moving in several different languages, have little to do with what is being spoken, the voice acting is so impressive and authoritative that the on-screen performers seemed to be puppeteers in reverse, showing us the sleight-of-hand that produced the dialogue. (Although, Tilda Swinton's dubbing sounded much like Tilda Swinton, who as part of her talent is capable of non-English roles.)

Now, onto the most important part. This is a very paced, measured film. Its pace is a quandary: the discerning viewer won't see any fat that needs trimming, the careless masses will lament the lack of meat in this meal. The film is music that has been interpreted with images, just as Bach can be played on a harpsichord or a piano. Everything is alive with the rhythm of existence, every film grain an instrument: the back and forth sway of the camera watching the boat disembark, the mechanical gait of the people boarding the train, the frantic cadence of the fur traders' sales pitch and the graceful speech of the English detective. The soundtrack of the film consists of a short, oppressive and oft-repeated phrase of music, which has its own rhythm but has been debased into the mere heartbeat of the film. To this end, the filmmaker leaves out much of the trite and conventional exposition present in other crime films, the raison d'être, to bring us more of the être. Life is complex, like music, more so than film plots or melodies, and there are no easy solutions. In fact, existence is the benchmark of complexity, and this movie brought me closer to the perigee of art and reality than I had ever been before.

A perfect film. On a grading scale, an A, an unforgettable, all-time favorite of deep significance, capable and worthy of being rewatched. Also, apologize for the pretentiousness of my review, which is unforgivable.
HASH(0x9fc9b60c) out of 5 stars What's Not to Love! May 31 2015
By graznichovna - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
The Man From London, set in an unidentified French port, combines elements of my favorite cinematic styles, black-and-white film noir and silent film--yes, even silent film; plus Mihaly Vig's haunting minimalist score reminiscent of Ulysses' Gaze and almost a character in its own right; plus the glorious Tilda Swinton; plus a script based on a Georges Simenon novel. What's not to love!

This film accomplishes perfectly (as precious few films have done) what I look for in cinematic adaptations of a novel: not an exact recreation, but amplification and magnification of an author's essential qualities. As reviewer Peter Bradshaw wrote in The Guardian (12/11/08): "If you read Simenon's book last thing at night, then this might be the dream you would have after turning out the light."

Simenon's novel was published in 1934. One of the things that kept me (agreeably) insecure throughout the film was its anachronistic ambiance. I was never sure what era I was viewing. With the exception of one scene, in which a computerized cash register emits the customary digital bleeps, the sounds of the film are not 21st century sounds. And no one whips out gadgets every five minutes. There is a complete absence of screens--and even of cars. How uncluttered the world used to be!--but surely even in a small French port this is not the case today. Even more anachronistic are the sensibilities of the characters. The British police inspector trusts a café owner with a briefcase full of stolen loot. Not only that: the inspector had previously offered to make a deal with the murderer/thief (perhaps hoping to avoid extradition hassles?)! And yet there's that computerized cash register jarringly proclaiming the 21st century...

The Man From London is my first Bela Tarr film, and I am completely smitten.
HASH(0x9febc480) out of 5 stars Tarrific! Sept. 25 2015
By F. E. Peters - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I'll start by confessing to be a huge Bela Tarr fan. The opening of "Man" is impressive, perhaps not as in-your-cineaste-face as the opening of The Turin Horse (his masterpiece) but a treat nonetheless. "Man" is somewhat more narrative than "Horse" but still top-drawer Tarr.
HASH(0x9fe91108) out of 5 stars An interesting movie but really slow Feb. 28 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I think the director was trying to communicate with the audience using visuals instead of dialog. The visuals do work, but it also makes the movie VERY long and drawn out.

The movie is subtitled, but also has spoken English segments but it primarily communicates visually.

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