A toweringly simple morality play - simple in the purity and clarity of its direction, not in any way unknowing or naive. As a way-marker in the Bergman oeuvre this is a refinement of the vernacular from The Seventh Seal and a coalescing of existential concerns; all fascinating in retrospect as the body artistic grew and the familiar forms assembled. Nevertheless it can stand alone in it’s flinty single mindedness.
★★★★★ /DCP/ A remarkable cinematic achievement, enhanced by the genius of Nykvist’s cinematography. Bergman brilliantly handles the shifting tones, the loving family’s pampering of their daughter, the seething resentment of the farm girl, the trancelike journey into the woods and the horrendous evil that awaits, ending in a stunning expression of enraged retribution and spiritual release.
There's something different about his masterpieces. They seem almost effortless. He's a very smart director, but sometimes he gets in his own way. Not this time. The simplicity of the story and the monumental performances have turned this parable into a horror story.
An unusual Bergman that is essentially an anti-religion revenge tale that would later be remade in Hollywood into a horror film (The Last House on the Left <3). A film that starts off innocently becomes a harrowing, emotionally assaulting experience once all morals and compassion is thrown out the window, with pure vengeance predominating.
Bergman's atypical films are his most fun discoveries; I'd take Smiles of a Summer Night or Summer With Monika over the angst of Through a Glass Darkly. But this is "typical" Bergman at his best, and as a medieval tale of an elusive god, it may even top The Seventh Seal simply by demonstrating its point through drama instead of monologues. A simple fable, sprouting complex possible meanings from its little details.
Rape and Revenge ante litteram, Bergman riesce a mantenere un livello narrativo semplice, lineare ed estremamente coerente per tutta la pellicola, tanto da rendere quasi superficiali i dialoghi. Paganesimo e cristianesimo si mischiano in uno scenario senza tempo, quasi fiabesco, descritto magistralmente dai giochi di luce e ombre. 5S
I always like Bergman, but this is lesser work. Not to say it’s bad, in fact at times it is astounding, but just by the quality of his best stuff this doesn’t quite match up. Max von Sydow is powerful in this, as he tends to be in most things. As far as Bergman’s musings (that word is not near dark enough) on faith go, look towards the likes of “The Seventh Seal” and “Winter Light” instead.