I feel like a fool for not loving this classic examination of the
existence (or lack thereof) of both God and the meaning of life more.
I appreciate it, with it's stark, lovely photography, attention to
detail, marvelous performances, and sly dark sense of humor that
balances the portentousness of the subject matter, and makes the film
much easier to watch than my teen film-class memories of it.
On the other hand, while I appreciate the film's importance in cinema
history, and the bravery with which it tackles the biggest of issues in
a head-on, intellectual way, I find it just that - a very intellectual
experience, devoid of much in the way of emotion. I also find some of
the writing painfully preachy and on the nose.
Yet, in the end, I admire what it accomplished in its time, and how
well it holds up 53 years later.
And seeing as I went from not liking it at all, to liking it quite a
bit on my 2nd viewing, I'm open to what a third seeing might bring.
As almost goes without saying, the Criterion blu-ray transfer
is stunning, and worth buying for the strength of the images,
even if you struggle with the film. I'm glad I got it.