Not sure what to make of this mess. One thing is certain: this so-called "cinema" is going nowhere. It's a mere gimmick. Like the panorama or the kinetoscope. Think photography, with clumsy animation. Listen up, folks, cinema is just a fad. Let's focus on "real" art: theatre, literature, you know. In five years nobody will remember this stuff.
Renowned in cinema history as introducing the notion of 'audience effect'. Often used alongside Orson Welles' 'War of the Worlds' RKO radio broadcast as empirical evidence for the 'Hyperdermic Needle Theory'.
Dated and sophomoric. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha. Seriously though, it's obviously an important bit of cinema that when examined in terms of its effect on the audience had enormous implications for the language of film.
Hypnosis. Pre-narrative, pre-subjectivity, pre-art, pre-medium, as the camera is merely an invention "without a future". Like a cave painting. The frame skips and the people staring. This too, is but a train of shadows.
As a cinematographic window back to the late 19th century it's pretty amazing even if it's so brief. Fin-de-siècle intellectual climate always fascinated me and it's awesome to be able to witness photographed human movement from that era. Density and movement in the embryonic shot render this an exemplary fragment. (Too short though that defies a proper rating.)
On the one hand, not much happens beyond the train arriving. On the other hand, so much happens as you are watching the Lumieres create the language of cinema. This means that rather than reviewing a film, it is actually a question of reviewing a key moment in time. So - great moment, five stars! Full disclosure - I love trains and old films, so somehow I'm the target audience more than a century later.