Tarr’s fine noir stylings undermined by grating story

The Man from London

on September 30, 2007 by Barbara Goslawski

Béla Tarr is not at his best in The Man from London, which is unfortunate because novelist Georges Simeon’s chronicle of an ordinary man who tries to escape the drudgery of his daily life is such a perfect match for Tarr’s overriding concerns. Maloin (Miroslav Krobot), our hero, is a brute of a man, emoting nothing despite Tarr’s probing camera. Tilda Swinton plays his shrill, downtrodden wife Camelia, an unfortunate performance by a great talent.

Tarr’s signature long takes, peppered with great moments of silence, almost save this film, but not quite. Rather, his recent devolution as a director into unbearably grim (even for him) melodrama drags the narrative down. Even the music is grating. This mystery could have stood as one of the finest noir films in cinema, with the luscious black-and-white photography of masterfully composed visions of darkness, pierced by carefully balanced light. Unfortunately, what looks like a great film remains a mere shell of a great story.

Cast: Miroslav Krobot and Tilda Swinton
Director: Béla Tarr
Screenwriters: Béla Tarr and László Krasznahorkai
Producers: Gábor Teni, Paul Saadoun, Miriam Zachar, Joachim von Vietinghoff and Christoph Meyer-Wiel
Genre: Drama; Hungarian-language, subtitled
Rating: Not yet rated
Running time : 135 min.
Release date: Sept 19 NY

Tags: Bla Tarr, foreign, Miroslav Krobot, Tilda Swinton, Hungary

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