In the nineteenth century, a French adventurer sets off to establish a kingdom in the inhospitable South of Chile, uniting the feared Mapuche under him. The response of the Chilean army is devastating. Rey is both an intricately designed adventure film as well as powerful textural experiment.
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A strangely wonderful cinematic journey through the psychological yearning of ambition and Quixotic daring to an increasingly incoherent world of primal myth, hallucinatory nightmare and feverish desire. The narrative progresses through free association and the stark power of the visually evolving images. The journey, even given its logical incoherence is burning with avant garde energy that is curiously mesmerising
This is a really remarkable feature. There are arresting visuals throughout, some nightmarish, dreamy, others evoke a strong sense of place and wonder. The approach taken by Attalah works perfectly for the subject matter. A mysterious tale that I will want to revisit.
Rey wants to blow your mind but it's more a contact high, goofy and endearing but we still await transcendence. It signposts a number of enticing reference points - Maddin, Herzog, Ruiz - but I suspect will always be related to them. Should we make 'spiritual biopic' a thing? Shouldn't they all be true to psychic terrain, dreams and their decay, rather than historical detail? 3.5
Lots of nice visuals, and some interesting ideas, but not enough substance for a 90 minute film. At the end I was left wondering what the film was actually "about", as none of the various themes that are briefly hung on the bare-bones narrative are developed in any way.
Arresting visuals and a dreamy, fractured narrative don't quite make up for the feeling that many of the scenes are disconnected from one another in a way that keeps the film a bit too distant from the viewer.
Quite uneven, sometimes slips into what seems like strangeness for it's own sake, but by the end the overall effect left me engaged with it. On the whole definitely an interesting film worth seeing if you like this sort of thing, at various points it put me in mind of Herzog (Aguirre/Fitzcarraldo), Wheatley's A Field in England, or the experimental films of Kenneth Anger.