Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Russian Ark (2002): Netflixin 7/8/09

  • Why I rented it: It's a movie about the Hermitage Museum, the massive collection of art in St. Petersburg, Russia that made quite an impression on me when I was there in May.

  • Verdict: 8/10. I don't usually like movies that don't have much of a plot, and actually having recently visited many of the rooms and works shown in the movie gave me an a priori kinship with it all, but this is one of those movies that sticks in your head for a long time after you've seen it. Artsy and strange as heck, and you're sure to be lost if you don't have a pretty good background in classical art and Russian history, as, in a subtlety that is the antithesis of the sledgehammer that is modern American moviemaking, the film takes it as a given that the viewer will know who the characters are without any introduction whatsoever as it shifts randomly through various historical eras. And oh yeah, the movie's claim to fame is that it consists of a single continuous 96-minute shot. The camera is never turned off until the movie ends. I'm a sucker for good endings, and the ending, quite honestly, is one of the hauntingly greatest I've ever seen. Art appreciation at its finest and most eloquent.