Intense and stylish, this plays as an earthy revenge drama syncronised with fecundity, touch, sound and sensation, perhaps to compensate for Ada's muteness. It's stunning to the eye and ear, although not especially profound. Nevertheless it lingers on as a series of strong images set to to that (after a time) infernal tune. It remains Campion's most fully formed piece to date and is still her mainstream calling card.
an intense study of character and womanhood. holly hunter's wordless acting is striking, if anna paquin's is a bit cartoonish. the way that this film avoids putting its male characters into stereotypes (particularly in the husband) brings a drawing complexity to the entire story as well as hunter's own character. fantastic.
the moment Ada enters New Zealand her tempestuous disposition is often reflected in the mire that is the landscape and weather. we regularly see shots of her wading through muck. Alisdair and George in stark contrast as one who is wholly incongruous with their surroundings and one who has adapted. visual representations of abandonment, constraint, loneliness.
3-4. I'm torn; it's such a gorgeous film with a really excellent central metaphor that allows the film to tap into the power of "Show, Don't Tell." But it's slow to get going, Baines' characterization rests so much on Harvey Keitel's performance, and it doesn't evoke meaning beyond the characters' circumstances. Still worth watching and unusually tender in its depiction of such visceral subject matter.
Holly Hunter's acting and piano playing had a depth and intensity for me not matched by the shallow anachronistic score, not matched by the directing that tried to be art with a capital A rather than making formal meaning, and not matched by the other actors. Dreadful, pretentious pap. Give me Breillat's Bluebeard. Holly Hunter's dark fairy tale wildness would be right at home in it.
Another one of those films that for whatever reason I just never got around to watching. Glad I finally did. Once again I fall back on the words of Roger Ebert: "It is one of those rare movies that is not just about a story, or some characters, but about a whole universe of feeling - of how people can be shut off from each other, how help can come from unexpected sources, and how you'll never know if you never ask."
Bad ending. Reminded me of Daughters of the Dust insofar as its a movie I'd like to like more, but its adherance to then contemporary aesthetics hold me back. I think this represents more technically accomplished filmmaking (though I'm sure the difference in budget is notable), but I wish this was as thematically subtle as DotD.
As a man, I appreciate this film in two basic ways. First, as a beautiful love story set in a wild and beautiful landscape. But also as a story about feminine sexuality and desire. This film threads sensuality, desire and paints a heavily symbolized insight into the exciting, sensual world of women and their longing - of strength, and power, and attraction. And as always, I am left with questions as well as answers.