Reviews of If....
Displaying all 5 reviews
This Palme d’Or winner has a lot going for it in the way of performances, sequences, and ideas. Its view of hierarchies and repression—and the way that repression finds an outlet—remains fascinating, and would make an interesting double feature with The White Ribbon, which won the Palme d’Or 40 years later. However, its rebel hero is a bit thinly fleshed, and the frequent detours into abstraction ultimately make it feel like more of an artifact from 1968—when attitude was all you needed to smash the norm—than a story for the ages. But a compelling artifact it is, and students of 60s culture will find it plenty engaging.
7 out of 10.
- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.
who can resist a film about england’s society told at a very satirical way from the angle of a life at a certain dormitory school? if you say no to that, then it’s your loss; because if…. is a revolutionary film that influenced not only many rebellion-related films, but also real life rebellion occurences on planet earth.
this film tried not to take sides since the beginning and it succeeded at doing so. maybe the audience can distinguished which one is the wanker and which one is the cool free spirited one, but it didn’t make the film took sides. in fact, though the audience hate an anarchic behavior, they can still sided with mick travis (malcolm mcdowell) and company; and though the audience hate an asslicking wanker, they can still relate with the school authorities. the neutrality of this film is just pitch perfect.
the storyline and the dialogs of the film felt very artistic and literary. it was filled with beautifully provocative twists and turns and poetic dialogs. it was like reading a book by a nobel prize winner in the category of rebellion literary. oh, and the comedic parts were also very hilarious in a satire kind of way.
the mixing of black and white and color also helped this film at being revolutionary. it was just wonderful when i saw it. it was like a mix of fantasy and reality.
should i talk about the acting? this is malcolm mcdowell before his heyday at portraying alexander delarge. in this film, he was younger, rawer, and looked more rebellious, if i might say. just like him, all the other actors acted very well in this film.
all in all, this is a perfect rebellion film for those of you who wants some on-screen-rebel-action completed with some idealistic thoughts about rebellion itself. definitely one-of-a-kind, revolutionary, and a deserved winner of cannes film festival’s palme d’or.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
I expected so much, but now all i can say is that this movie is totally overrated. Yeah yeah, it’s a mixture of reality and illusion, a critic of the english higher class, it deals with homoeroticism, but it’s so unconvincing. The story and the characters are not really developing through the movie, the first 3/4 of it is boring in every aspect, the last part is just a too quick “twist” and sometimes the acting is horrible.
- Currently 2.0/5 Stars.
Set in an English public school, If…. is both a savage satire of the British class system and also an attack against all forms of dehumanizing conformity. Surreal, wildly experimental, often unsettling and brilliantly funny, the film has since become a staple of the counterculture movement. Some of the film’s offbeat stylistic choices, such as the switching from black & white to colour and back again, have been studied for meaning; ironically, this misses the purely anarchic intent of Anderson. He shot in black & white for some scenes simply because it was easier to light certain sets that way. That he didn’t care what effect this would have on the audience is perfectly in keeping with the film’s naked contempt for anything conventional or repressive.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
If…. is a daring examination of the British class system and the society it creates and nurtures. Lindsay Anderson uses the microcosm of an exclusive public school for boys to dissect several sacred cows at once. The foundations of the establishment, it’s military, clergy, teachers are all exposed as complicit in supporting a structure which stifles the individual and turns out more sausage meat for the capitalist system.
McDowell’s Mick Travis is a misfit, a thorn in the side of the natural order of things and therefore his fate is to have conformity beaten into him. The powers that be, the masters, use the school whips or prefects to do their dirty work, to maintain a system based on humiliation and degredation. The whips are the prison in-mates who collaborate in return for priveliges, the trustees, who are happy to mentally or physically abuse their peers without a second thought.
Anderson does not shy away from the homosexual undertones always present amongst a large group of men with miniscule female contact. The whips see it as a right that comes with position, and Anderson inserts what can only be a romantic association between two boys, one from Mick’s group, and one a junior lusted over by the whips.
These types of boys schools usually have long military associations, and so it is here. Mick has dreams of freedom and posters of revolutionaries on his walls. He idealises war in the same way he might a perfect sexual moment with a dream girl. His adolescent whimsy bumps into reality, when avoiding a rugby game, he steals a motor bike and hits the country roads, his friend on the back. They stumble into a roadside cafe, in what looks like a satire on The Wild One, Mick does his best Brando, and puts Misa Luba on the jukebox! He meets his wild-eyed dream girl (Christine Noonan), who figures largely in the surreal denouement.
Mick is spurned into action by a beating, perhaps sparked by his liason with the girl, he decides to challenge the status quo.
The fact that he does it with their own tools, on their own holy ground is rich satire indeed. The final images of Mick on the roof with his comrades, Bren guns firing, having the whole of the establishment trying to blow him to smithereens is as arresting and memorable an image as has ever been filmed.
The filmic devices move freely between the realistic and slightly quirky. Black and white sequences mix in at times, to create a feeling of uncertainty. The performances are wonderful, not a false note to be found. Crowdens anarchistic History master a standout. This film made McDowell a star and rightly so. Anderson knew that to get a story like this remotely accepted he needed a charismatic and convincing Mick.
Kubrick was so charmed he signed him for ‘A Clockwork Orange’ on the strength of this performance.
Society was changing, freedoms were being demanded and Anderson captured something of the zeitgeist with this film. Of course Thatcherism was just around the corner, but that’s another story. Plus la change.