La Roue (La Rose du rail) (The Wheel) Reviews

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Luc L. Luc L. ½ June 29, 2014
Too elaborate and repetitive; the story loses interest. It needed a lot of editing to have pace.
J. Scott F ½ January 5, 2014
I forced myself to watch this, due to its important place in film history, and was dreading the 4 1/2 hours of viewing to come. However, I was quite surprised with how engaged I was throughout. It is slow, melodramatic, and tedious at times - but likewise full of beauty, and washes over the senses like a daydream. It is also quite dark and a bit depressing - but in a poetic & symphonic way. It was a similar experience to listening to compositions by Debussey while gazing out a window as Spring blooms or Autumn falls.

I admit that I was annoyed at the continual overwrought expressions made my Sisif (Severin-Mars), and particularly his eye aerobics upon going blind. A touch of subtlety would have been nice. Overall I enjoyed it. I wouldn't want to watch it again - but I'm glad I finally did!
FilmFreak93 FilmFreak93 ½ January 19, 2013
Abel Gance's La Roue, is the epic story about the railroad worker Sisif, who witness a fatal train crash that causes many people's life. He rescue a young girl named Norma English from the ruins, whom he adopts and raise as his own, along with his own son, Elie. Then we jump fifteen years forward in time, where we see a drunken and miserable Sisif, who is that way because he has fallen in love with his own adoptive daughter. His son does not know, but there is still a very strong connection between them. Sisif tells this secret to the railroad owner Jacques de Hersan, who propose that he might help Sisif, by marrying the young and beautiful Norma, in order to take her off Sisif's mind. Which of course Sisif does. But does it really help?

La Roue is a masterpiece of epic proportions. Gance's use of fast editing is also quiet amazing. This was some years before Sergei Eisenstein started experimenting. We have the fast editing when the train is rolling too fast, to make us audience more scared. And it also feature the very first "life flashed before my eyes" scene, with a bunch of random images from the past. There's no doubt that La Roue is a technical wonder. But the story itself is also great. It's an epic tale about forbidden love and selfless devotion. It's such a deep story, with a lot of deep characters. It's certainly no ordinary love story. It might even be something that todays directors can learn from. Thumbs up.
Jonathan P April 3, 2012
At times La Roue was exciting yet too many times it drug on without an end in sight. There were some amazing shots and camera work as Abel Gance really brought some new ideas to light. The acting became a bit overdone and Severin-Mars who played the father tried so hard to roll up his eyes to appear blind that it lost its effect on the viewer. La Roue had all of the elements to be a good movie and is a decent movie but at four and a half hours it just drug on way to much. Not for people looking for a good movie but one that film buffs and historians should seek out.
David B March 26, 2012
Though full of beautiful images and jaw-dropping camera work, I found the story to be too melodramitc to qualify as a supreme epic. Still wonderful, not amazing.
Greg W March 25, 2012
gance takes 2 the rails in this silent
Jonathan Porras Jonathan Porras December 26, 2011
At times La Roue was exciting yet too many times it drug on without an end in sight. There were some amazing shots and camera work as Abel Gance really brought some new ideas to light. The acting became a bit overdone and Severin-Mars who played the father tried so hard to roll up his eyes to appear blind that it lost its effect on the viewer. La Roue had all of the elements to be a good movie and is a decent movie but at four and a half hours it just drug on way to much. Not for people looking for a good movie but one that film buffs and historians should seek out.
John A November 24, 2011
Overlong and thin on story, Abel Gance's film remains eminently watchable. Its visual technique never fails to dazzle--varied use of filters, superimposed images, shots from all angles, creative framing, and an often aggressive use of montage all contribute to what is ultimately a tale told with visuals. However, 4.5 hours is inexplicable as a running time for what is essentially a simple melodrama of familial love and obsession.
Andy C March 9, 2011
Originally 9 hours? 4 hours and 22 minutes made a long enough melodrama about two pathetic schlubs pining for the same lady. Pioneers some filmmaking techniques, though, so I'm not saying it's a waste of time by any stretch.
stev18mayo stev18mayo April 16, 2009
somehow this film really works in spite of being highly melodramatic and quite often self consciously arty. it's very emotional though and it contains many poetic images.
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