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The River (1951) Review


Weak
People talk about The River in the same hushed tones they reserve for Citizen Kane and Grand Illusion, Renoir's best-known film.

It's definitely a lot of firsts: Renoir's first English film, and his first color film. The River is a movie about India -- shot on the Ganges River and telling the story of three teenage girls who fall for the same man (the mysterious stranger in town), to various degrees.

Continue reading: The River (1951) Review

The River Review


Weak
People talk about The River in the same hushed tones they reserve for Citizen Kane and Grand Illusion, Renoir's best-known film.

It's definitely a lot of firsts: Renoir's first English film, and his first color film. The River is a movie about India -- shot on the Ganges River and telling the story of three teenage girls who fall for the same man (the mysterious stranger in town), to various degrees.

Continue reading: The River Review

Black Narcissus Review


Very Good
Widely hailed as one of the most beautiful films ever shot, Black Narcissus is a strange tale of Anglican nuns who establish a convent in an extremely remote region of the Himalayas. Obviously not a great idea, but weird locals, altitude sickness, and sketchy personal pasts all conspire against the gals. To be sure, the cinematography of Narcissus -- notably an ending that must have stuck in Hitchcock's mind for decades -- is to die for, utterly pioneering for its time and deserving of its two Academy Awards (art direction and cinematography), but its story has never totally grabbed me. Sure, women of the cloth might have demons in their pasts. Doesn't everyone? The ending is chilling, but the subplots fall flat, including two about a local wild-woman and a studious boy who wants to learn everything there is to know. Should've stuck to those crazy nuns.

The Element Of Crime Review


Good
Before he decided camera trickery was actually a bad thing (in re his Dogme 95 movement), Lars von Trier couldn't get enough of it -- as is evident in his first English-language feature, The Element of Crime. A twisted tale of a cop who undergoes a hypnotic treatment in order to track down a serial killer of young girls, Crime is shot under almost exclusively red lighting, giving the impression that you are seeing the film through a haze of blood.

This is interesting for five minutes, but after 105 it gets tedious to an extreme. It also makes it extremely difficult to actually see what's going on -- not only is everything red, but the whole film is shot at night and almost all of it in the rain.

Continue reading: The Element Of Crime Review

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