Bergmanesque, rather than Tarkovskianesque. It certainly has a poignant atmosphere and is worth watching. Yet, a captivating plot, a brilliant photography and a wonderful cast can hardly make a vision.
While Zvyagintsev, owner of a remarkably subtle and pleasuring directing style, takes his time in setting the mood and tone of the film, the story is so minimally told and gives so little to the viewer to work with other than grand images of the Russian countryside and a few glancing details, that by the time his reworkings of time and meaning come to take place, their significance proves diminished and even obsolete
It's truly a masterpiece, as it was "The Return". It's a pity it has been so massively overlooked by the critics, it should have received more prizes. It's beautifully directed and the plot is not at all thinly constructed; there's more to it than what we are shown. Even if its length can be off-putting for some, "The Banishment" holds us captive from beginning until the end. It left me with a desire to replay it.