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A Londoni Férfi (The Man From London) (2007)



Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 9

This dark, demanding film from art-house favorite Bela Tarr is by no means a typical crime procedural, but patient viewers will find much to admire.


Average Rating: 5.1/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 3

This dark, demanding film from art-house favorite Bela Tarr is by no means a typical crime procedural, but patient viewers will find much to admire.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 873

My Rating

Movie Info

A man whose lonely life at the edge of the sea has become as predictable as the tide witnesses a murder that sends him on an existential journey the likes of which he could never have anticipated in director Béla Tarr's philosophical drama. Maloin had reached a point in life where he was content to embrace loneliness while turning a blind eye to the inevitable decay that surrounded him. Upon bearing witness to a shocking murder, however, the man who once lived a life of quiet solitude is forced



Bela Tarr, László Krasznahorkai

Oct 18, 2005

IFC Films

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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (9) | DVD (3)

The Man from London' lacks the grandiose 'cosmic' intimations of the director's past work, and though it contains many moments of sublime cinematic choreography, this is finally good Tarr, but not great Tarr.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Man From London, directed by Bela Tarr, is an outrageously stylized, conceptually demanding film.

September 22, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tarr struggles to adapt to an outmoded genre and, in the end, produces his least personal work to date.

September 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Feels like no other film that you've seen before. It's cerebral and lugubrious, yet simple as a fairy tale.

October 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Demanding, and certainly not to everyone's taste (patience is needed), the film nevertheless has the power to thrill and amaze.

June 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Other than its black-and-white photography, this is a nearly unwatchable movie.

May 24, 2007
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The camera is quintessential Tarr: hovering in anticipation of things that won't happen, tracking like a private eye tailing a perp, and imbuing the black-and-white image with a caustic malaise no other director comes near to achieving.

June 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

A unique metaphysical arty film noir.

January 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The mere fact of Hungarian auteur Béla Tarr continuing to direct films without making the smallest concession to popular fashion is a cause for celebration.

August 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

In lieu of a story, Tarr evokes the beauty of cinematic form and the exhilaration of simply watching.

January 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

The impeccable mise en scčne and immaculate technique fail to capture Tarr's trademark spiritual malaise, also missing the lassitude in the protagonists' souls.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

As slow-moving, oppressive and icy as a winter fog, Tarr's noirish drama of temptation and guilt beguiles but also, frankly, bores.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

But ultimately the pace is deadly. Tectonic drift moves faster. The dialogue is delivered in a way that suggests that somebody added a load of extra full stops.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

The Man from London is no conventional cop thriller. It's an arresting nightmare all the same.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian

Surrendering to the film's languid rhythms is pleasurable, even invigorating. To resist its forbidding pace and style is to deny oneself its rarefied rewards.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

A lugubrious pace, shots that hang... and hang... and hang... long after most other directors would call "Cut", and scant dialogue but a surplus of portentous close-ups make the film a somnambulant chore.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

You will find the film either desperately depressing or perversely hypnotic. Or you might find it both simultaneously.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

It is almost an anti-mystery, our meagre clue to the protagonist's feelings of guilt legible in the contours of Krobot's mournful mid-European face: only Bruno Ganz, one feels, could out-gloom him.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Independent

As uncompromising as all his work and, though beautifully and often breathtakingly shot by fellow director Fred Keleman, is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Despite its conventional-sounding plot, this is strictly for hardcore arthouse fans and the film's aesthetic rewards don't really justify its lengthy running time.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

I loved it, but it'll be some weeks before I can make heads or tails of it.

June 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

The Man from London, however comprehensible and demystified, is housed in a world of nonetheless pure, enveloping ambiance -- and it is by this measure that its merits are clearest.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

The Man From London is the latest example of an utterly distinctive vision, baleful and radiant, as voluptuous as it is bleak.

October 22, 2007 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for A Londoni Férfi (The Man From London)

The lethargic pace and avant garde style will limit the audience of this artsy offering from director Béla Tarr. My suggestion; skip this one and watch Temptation Harbour (1947) instead.
April 19, 2012
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

With "The Man from London," Bela Tarr proves that he could even make watching paint dry interesting which surprisingly has little to do with the always fascinating Tilda Swinton being cast, as her role is so minor. In fact, the film is inspired by others including the beginning of "Touch of Evil" and its epic introductory shot.

At the start of "The Man from London," Maloin(Miroslav Krobot), a night watchman, notices something suspicious on the job. On further inspection, it is a briefcase filled with slightly soggy English pounds. And then there is the Aki Kaurismaki angle with Maloin's dreary life where he severely disapproves of his daughter Henriette's(Erika Bok) job and clothing. But what's important is Tarr managing to keep events moving, even if it is at a glacial pace, perhaps mirroring that of the characters' existence.
January 8, 2013
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Man, when looking at this film's title, I just cannot help but think of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", and it doesn't help that the upcoming adaptation of the TV series in question is directed by Guy Ritchie and features Henry Cavill and Hugh Grant. The show may have been about an American agent and a Georgian agent, but there is definitely more than just one man from London attached to that project, and that's about all there is when it comes to parallels between that project and this film, which is also a black-and-white mystery opus, but anything but even remotely as exciting as a Guy Ritchie film. Shoot, Steven Soderbergh could have gone through with the "U.N.C.L.E." project and the final product would have still been considerably less dull than this non-thriller, whose chills pretty much peak at having to look at Erika Bók's face. Well, at least this Béla Tarr is only a little under two-and-a-half hours, rather than seven hours and a quarter that I will never get back, and plus, if I can be ignorant American here, when someone actually talks, it's often in English, but then again, it's just as often in French. That's right, people, just in case I haven't been emphatic enough about how dry this film is, it is an art film about some British dude in France, and is by the Hungarian who did "Sátántangó", and it doesn't get too much more dry than that. Seriously, I was about to addressed how shocked I was to discover that it took Tarr until 2007 to get a film in Cannes Film Festival, but then I read about this film's reception at Cannes, and, man, even they said it was way too dry, and these are the same jerks who say that "Sátántangó" is one of the best films ever. Well, the general reception is still reasonably decent, and I guess that means that the critics haven't completely found their minds yet, because, as you can imagine, I agree with the handful of people who deem this film a disaster, yet can at least give some credit where credit is due.

Most every one of Mihály Víg's scores for Béla Tarr films can be complimented to one extent or another, but they're all too often a bit more stylish than they probably should be, thus making it easier to appreciate Víg's efforts here, which are underused, of course, as well sometimes repetitiously misused and rather limited in the uniqueness that admittedly comes from the overstylization of Víg's other collaborations with Tarr, but has enough subtle dynamicity and tastefulness to be lovely by its own right, as well as complimentary to the film's tone. Really, both Víg's score for this film and Gábor ifj. Erdélyi's impeccable sound editing go into composing an audio style that is pretty impressively immersive, as well as not as emphatic about agonizing white noise that exacerbates firm dullness as it is in other films by Tarr, while Fred Kelemen's cinematography proves to be as impressive as it usually is in Tarr films. Granted, that mean that the black-and-white color palette of the film dilutes your appreciation for this film's visual style about as much as the punishingly overlong long takes that get so old after a while that it's unreal, but by deeming this film's visual style about as impressive as your usual Béla Tarr film, I also mean that Kelemen's cleverly sparse use of limited color and lighting not only captures the bleak, rather noirish tone of this minimalist art drama, but actually proves to be mighty eye-catching at times. The film sounds good and looks gorgeous, and that is just about what you can about every other Béla Tarr film which has little, if anything else going for it, so if this film excels in no other department, it's the stylistic department, while what substance there is tends to go anchored by the performances. I won't say that the performers make their characters all that engaging, because characterization is so problematically messy that the humans who conceptually drive this "drama" fall flat as beyond saving, which, of course, leaves our performers with only so much to work with, though not so little that you don't perk up a bit when the acting steps up about as much as it can, as the performers boast a certain naturalist atmosphere that allows them to embody their roles, and therefore make the heights in dramatic punch - particularly those of Tilda Swinton - all the more weighty. As with most every Béla Tarr film, there's little compliment in this hopelessly misguided embarrassment of a near-torturous attempt at artistry, but what strengths there are cannot be denied, and that's enough for the final product to be firmly secured from a drop into particularly low levels of contempt. Nevertheless, the point is that the film is bound to, or at least should, earn disdain, because as good as it may sound and look, and as decent as the tremendously underwritten performances may be, it's nearly unwatchable and decidedly uncompelling, largely because, as far as I can tell, it doesn't seem to care whether or not you're invested in these characters.

Like I said, the performances are decent enough to earn a moderate degree of your investment, but not necessarily in the characters themselves, as the exposition is so paper-thin, and many of the characters' actions are so hard to relate to, that I found it impossible to connect with those who ostensibly drive substance, when there is substance that is. When I say that this film has something of a narrative, I mean it in the loosest of ways, as substance is just so undercooked, but make no mistake, this film does occasionally offer a tiny drop of substance and relatively traditional storytelling that emphasizes the possibilities within a practically obligatory premise concept, only to suddenly pull the rug out from underneath you and jar right back into the "narrative" style which dominates: overly artistic, almost abstract plotlessness, thus resulting in a glaring narrative inconsistency that would be more grating if the film's glimpses into traditional storytelling weren't so startlingly sparse, but emphasize the questionability of storytelling artistic which is impossible to disregard without the emphasis from "narrative" unevenness. With all of my complaints about inconsistency in narrative, this film is mostly plotless, being generally nothing more than a showcase of Béla Tarr's trademark: extended meditations of pure, almost abstract filler, anchored by long, long, long shots of nothing but nothing that grow numbing in their monotony after a while. This is one of those unconventionally structured art pieces that you simply have to see to believe, but man, I just cannot recommend that you suffer through the unreal level of aimlessness which drives most of this exhaustingly overlong, almost two-and-a-half-hour-long, just to see that a film can get this unfocused, because the monotonously misguided "artistry" of this film's "structure" is grating, and would perhaps be easier to swallow if all of this monotony wasn't made all the more grating by atmospheric momentum's being every bit as stale as the film's structural momentum. When substance does finally come into play, no matter how minimal it may be, thoughtful meditativeness actually breathes some life into a degree of effectiveness, but on the whole, all this film has to meditate upon is absolutely nothing, and it does so intensely, drying atmosphere dead and quieting things down to a numbing state, until you end up with a film whose bland moments are highlights in pacing, and whose tedious dullness reigns supreme. The film has glimpses of being something reasonably compelling, but more often than not, this grating mess is most everything that we've come to, or at least should expect from the artistically insane Béla Tarr, being a tediously paced, unfocused challenge to your tolerance, and that's enough for the final product to plummet into contempt without the insult to injury which goes added by Tarr's palpable and shameless sense of pride. I truly hate Tarr as a filmmaker, not just because he has an embarrassing track record when it comes to making watchable cinematic experiments, but because he has the nerve to demand your appreciation, even for something like this, and I'm sorry, but I cannot appreciate this misguided disaster of considerable proportions, for although the final product would have fallen even deeper into disaster were the weight of its shortcomings not challenged by tasteful areas in style and acting, Tarr's once again unrewarding efforts fall into disdain deep enough to in no way be worthy of the time it wastes every chance it gets.

Overall, Mihály Vig's score has its lovely moments, and joins Gábor ifj. Erdélyi's impeccable sound editing in creating immersive moments, while lovely minimalist cinematography and decent performances further soften the blows of the final product's shortcomings, which are still overwhelming, because through scarce exposition, the occasional moment of narrative unevenness and near-consistent questionable artistic structuring, established through long stretches of monotonous meditations upon nothing but nothing, and made all that more glaring by a tediously cold atmosphere, touched up only by a frustrating air of self-righteousness, "The Man from London" crashes and burns as yet another utterly uncompelling, fiercely uncompelling and ultimately contemptible showcase of Béla Tarr's artistic misguidedness.

1.5/5 - Bad
August 11, 2013
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron Johnson

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • The Man from London (DE)
  • The Man From London (A Londani Ferfi) (UK)
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