A Very Long Engagement Reviews
I know, it sounds extreme, but watch it with enough light in the room to take notes, jot down what names are associated with which professions, who had the German boots, whose girlfriend is whose, etc. If I were to criticize this movie I would criticize it for having an excessively complex plot (note that I am not). I am just promising you that you will indubitably enjoy this movie more if you keep up with the story and its intricate spider-web of characters, professions, relationships, assassinations, etcetera, aaaaaaand you are certainly going to follow better (at least enough to not get lost half way through) if you take notes. I finally stopped and started over after an hour because I just couldn't keep track of to which characters they were referring every few minutes. If you heed my council and take notes, one hour into it you will be studying them to make sure you are understanding, and you will thank me and never doubt my advice again. I loved this movie.
But it lives up to its name; this felt a lot longer than its 2hr 13min. Maybe it's the sheer number and variety of plot twists, but I kept thinking that scene after scene would be the final one, only to realise there was more to come. It's a mish-mash of styles, with striking war sequences set against whimsy in ways that don't always work.
Not without flaws, as Mark Kermode might say, but worth your time.
I'll learn my lessons elsewhere, then.
The piece-meal approach to the storytelling makes it difficult to get a grasp on the characters and the quickly developing plot - so the viewer isn't able to completely get lost in the storytelling.