Top positive review
Challenging, beautiful, but not completely successful for me - at least on first viewing
on April 29, 2011
A film I need to see again, and wouldn't be surprised to love more on repeated viewings. I appreciate Antonioni's magnificent framing and images, his bravery with unconventional plotting; (e.g. having his true 'main character' disappear 10 minutes in). It's legendarily slow pace didn't bother me at all, but I did find the insights into the characters, how empty and desperate they are somewhat repetitive over time. I'll admit to moments of feeling 'yeah, I got it already'.
Antonioni brilliantly uses lonely landscapes to show how isolated these people are. But some of the performances didn't thrill me (there's a key difference between playing a shallow character and being a shallow actor, and it sometimes seems confused here).
It stayed a very intellectual experience - an essay about the lack of humanity in the upper classes beautifully illustrated. But it seemed so removed and exaggerated, even from my own comfy existence, that I found I wasn't moved on a deeper level.
That said, all these same criticisms could be aimed at 'Barry Lyndon', a film I have come to love deeply on repeated viewings. Like that film, I suspect I'll see much more next time I watch it. The telling thing is I find myself anxious to re-see it, in spite of it's challenges.