Katalin Varga

"Extraordinary"

Katalin Varga Review


Artistic and insightful, this sharply well-made film has an emotional resonance that becomes thoroughly haunting as the story travels to places we don't expect it to go. A sense of foreboding terror keeps us gripped, as does an underlying hope.

After a dark secret comes out, Katalin (Peter) takes her bright 10-year-old son Orban (Tanko) and leaves her loving husband Zsigmond (Matray) on an enigmatic journey across Romania. Orban thinks they're going to see his grandmother, but Katalin is on a mission as she tracks down the married Gergely (Giacomello) and plays along as he tries to seduce her. Soon she and Orban are on the run followed by an angry mob, heading for an isolated village where they have an unexpected encounter with Antal (Palffy) and his wife Etelka (Kantor).

Watching Katalin's odyssey is often uncomfortable, as she confronts a dark truth after years of hoping it would never emerge into the light of day.

First-time British filmmaker Strickland gives the story a mythical quality, as Katalin and her son travel by horse-drawn cart even though this isn't a period film (she also has a mobile phone). This bleak pilgrimage to reluctantly face the past is punctuated by both tenderness and violence. And as a result, Katalin's quest becomes derailed in revelatory ways, right up to the gasp-inducing final shot.

Peter gives a subtle, layered performance, fully inhabiting this strong, wild, vulnerable woman who's willing to do whatever it takes to protect her son.

Several scenes play out like a thriller, while others overflow with emotion.

The scene in which she tells her story, in astonishing detail, while on a boat ride with Antal and Etelka is pure cinematic magic--both unnerving and deeply moving. And all of the characters feel fully formed.

Strickland captures each scene with inventive camerawork (by cinematographer Mark Gyori) that weaves nature into the fabric of Katalin's journey. The settings are evoked with a fine use of light and shadow, plus a cleverly unsettling sound mix that blends tonal music with ambient noise. Altogether, this effectively captures both the large and small stories: an old culture in which people have lived the same way for generations, and the tale of an innocent young girl who grew up to discover a big bad world where redemption doesn't come cheap.



Katalin Varga

Facts and Figures

Run time: 82 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th October 2009

Distributed by: Memento Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Oana Giurgiu, Tudor Giurgiu,

Starring: Hilda Péter as Katalin Varga

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.