Ararat

Ararat

55%
  • R, 2 hr. 6 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Atom Egoyan
    In Theaters:
    Nov 15, 2002 Wide
    On DVD:
    Jul 22, 2003
  • Miramax Films

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Ararat Reviews

Page 1 of 8
Critique Threatt
Critique Threatt

Super Reviewer

April 13, 2010
Atom Egoyan is probably my fav filmmaker in cinema today. He is a man who is a master of telling complex, web weaving stories. His film "Ararat" is an ambitious project that explains a bit about the Armenian genocide of 1915 but some how loses it's focus due to the complex narrative.

This is a very confusing film and yet it is very well made. The plot is told in trademark Egoyan fashion (non linear, damaged, alienated charcters) but the flaw is Egoyan's handling of the material. I was hoping that Egoyan would have made the film more emotional and heartbreaking like "Schindler's List" and just tell the story of the genocide, the Armenians sufferings and pain rather then adding different layers, different stories, and different characters to confuse movie goers. Sure that style has worked in previous Egoyan pictures but not in this one. Even the handling of the massacre lacks an emotional punch. Truth be told I didn't really care about the genocide of 1915 or it's recents events. What's worst, it's created in this film within a film making it all the more confusing.

With that being said I guess what I admired about the picture was the performance from Elias Koteas who plays a homosexual character and is given a huge part to play in a movie about the genocide. Koteas character is seen very uncomfortable playing a racist, turkish villian (and well who wouldn't be?) but plays him nonetheless although he wonders if he was given the part for the right reasons or the wrong one? The film also deals with a filmmaker making a a picture about the 1915 massacre, a young adult who is trying to buy his way through customs but is accused of smuggling drugs by carrying them in film cans, a woman who is an expert on Arshile Gorky is haunted by her step daughter's debatable questions, and on and on and on.

I guess I would still somewhat recommend the film since it is very well made and yet it is Egoyan's least accomplished works he has ever made. If only the film had some kinda resonance, "Ararat" would not only of find it's true audience, the picture could have been seen as a true work of art.
Hellshocked
Hellshocked

Super Reviewer

June 6, 2007
It would have been simple enough to make a straightforward film about the Armenian genocide (the first genocide of the 20th century and the original holocaust). What Atom Egoyan has done here is make a film that is permeated with a primal rage at the apathy and the ignorance about the genocide today. Even this was not enough for him, however, the film shows multiple points of view within the Armenian community (about what to do with what has happened) and the Turkish (about what, if anything, did happen) one as well.

There are scenes of such heartbreaking, illusrative brilliance (the film-within-a-film reenactment of the genocide features U.S. actors in prominent roles, a U.S. volunteer hospital as the main setting, and the delivery of the KEY line "Go to the embassy...tell them AMERICAN LIVES...are in danger" which perfectly illustrates Egoyan's anger not just at what happened, but how little it has meant because of who it happened to), that pose such challenging questions ("Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Aemrnians?", a quote often attributed to Hitler, is used here in a particularly poignant scene between an Armenian gaffer and a Turkish actor, both working in the film-within-a-film) that the film's messy, uneven, disjointed structure can be forgiven. It is not a perfect film, definitely not a flawless one, but when faced with such passion, such rage and such talent it is impossible to end up with anything other than a work of art. This is the kind of film that can be discussed for hours and hours on end.
Barbara A

Super Reviewer

November 4, 2009
This is a film about the Armenian genocide by the Turks in 1915?. A subject I knew nothing about, which is one of the points in this film. Apparently there has been very little documented or reported about this tragic historical event. The Armenians are hurt (rightfully so) and the Turks are not sure what, if anything ever really happened.

While this subject is very important and interesting, this movie was very hard for me to absorb. There were like six stories to follow, and understand. The bitter step daughter, and her revenge against the woman she thinks killed her father. The son's videography trip and his problems with customs. The man from customs and his family. The Armenian artist and his mother. And finally the movie shot within this movie. Too many things going on at once, made the story very difficult for me to follow.

I think I need to watch this movie again...before I can give it a decent review. I wish I could just view the movie they were making, telling the story of the genocide, and skip all of the side stories.
March 28, 2007
Very nice film,
A Pomegranate became the symbol of Persephone's captured descent to the
Underworld and back, a heroine's survival journey based in the much more ancient Sumerian Song of
Inannas Descent,.
February 27, 2007
A tough look into the world that we think only happens in the movies... take this as a documentary, folks....
May 20, 2014
A dreadful film with a dreadful plot.
Bengel W.
October 21, 2013
Music congers up the mystic of the near east. Some famous names add depth to this movie with the strength of their characters. The story is harsh as it looks at past history from the making of a movie. Script is bitty at times as is the editing and direction making for a movie that lacks flow and gets confusing with the sub-plots that fail to complete. Nibbles: Meze.
May 8, 2013
I loved Egoyan's film Adoration, but although this movie had a necessary message, it lacked the gut-wrenching punch that many films about the Holocaust during WWII have. For some reason, the film within the film comes across as very stilted and too didactic, reminding me of poor quality movies from Sunday school classes in my youth. There are also too many plot lines here that take away from the impact a single focus could have brought to the finished project. Some scenes were very effective, but not the film as a whole. However, it did bring some questions to the fore, such as why Hitler's genocide, the practical extinction of Native Americans, and the enslavement of africans all get so much attention, but the annihilation of the Armenians so little.
Critique Threatt
Critique Threatt

Super Reviewer

April 13, 2010
Atom Egoyan is probably my fav filmmaker in cinema today. He is a man who is a master of telling complex, web weaving stories. His film "Ararat" is an ambitious project that explains a bit about the Armenian genocide of 1915 but some how loses it's focus due to the complex narrative.

This is a very confusing film and yet it is very well made. The plot is told in trademark Egoyan fashion (non linear, damaged, alienated charcters) but the flaw is Egoyan's handling of the material. I was hoping that Egoyan would have made the film more emotional and heartbreaking like "Schindler's List" and just tell the story of the genocide, the Armenians sufferings and pain rather then adding different layers, different stories, and different characters to confuse movie goers. Sure that style has worked in previous Egoyan pictures but not in this one. Even the handling of the massacre lacks an emotional punch. Truth be told I didn't really care about the genocide of 1915 or it's recents events. What's worst, it's created in this film within a film making it all the more confusing.

With that being said I guess what I admired about the picture was the performance from Elias Koteas who plays a homosexual character and is given a huge part to play in a movie about the genocide. Koteas character is seen very uncomfortable playing a racist, turkish villian (and well who wouldn't be?) but plays him nonetheless although he wonders if he was given the part for the right reasons or the wrong one? The film also deals with a filmmaker making a a picture about the 1915 massacre, a young adult who is trying to buy his way through customs but is accused of smuggling drugs by carrying them in film cans, a woman who is an expert on Arshile Gorky is haunted by her step daughter's debatable questions, and on and on and on.

I guess I would still somewhat recommend the film since it is very well made and yet it is Egoyan's least accomplished works he has ever made. If only the film had some kinda resonance, "Ararat" would not only of find it's true audience, the picture could have been seen as a true work of art.
ikeknight91
July 21, 2012
This is a difficult film to follow. There are several stories being told, with the backdrop being the Armenian Genocide. Despite being difficult to follow, I found myself unable to pull away. I believe the film gets better with each viewing. It definitely left me wanting to learn more about the plight of the Armenians.
March 15, 2012
Just a really poorly made movie, especially considering that the story it is based on is so interesting.
March 7, 2011
This movie stayed in my mind long after I saw it. I was brought up with my Grandmother who resembled the mother of the painter in the movie. I have heard the tale of the massacre from my family and from my grandmother. I have seen her scars. I have heard her wake up in the middle of the night screaming.... she died when she was about 100. Her exact age uncertain because she had blocked out memories. I have always been awed by her history and her ability to survive. The movie brought back things that she taught me.... exactly. How could a movie bring the complexity of a people destroyed, yet in many ways vibrant. I have heard the same things that the turkish man in the movie said. I was confused by the plot, but I could tell that the plot did not transcend the story- the story itself was like a painting. Like the hands of the mother in the painting, unfinished.... or left unclear for you and I to imagine. Anyone seeing the movie should probably let go of a need to control the story and simply observe.... and get uncomfortable... take the nuggets of the film much like Charles Az... character did with the pomegranate, treasure the seeds in your stomach since history does not give us the room to eat each seed one at a time. What I realized after the movie is how lucky I am to be alive. I am grateful for the courage and imagination that Egoyan and others used to create this ground breaking film. I am now two days after seeing the movie and I continue to appreciate what the artists did. Anyone seeing the movie and judging it as a "melodrama" has not really understood it- I believe. The movie transcends a genocide of a people and brings up the issue of accountability for the every day person. The movie affirms humanity and the value of a person's individual experience.
Faroeislander
November 23, 2010
Ararat is not a bad film by Atom Egoyan, but out of the five films of his I've seen so far it is my least favorite.
Matthew B.
May 10, 2010
I can't help but think this film could have been so much more. I think one reason why I did not wholly enjoy the film was that it never for more than a few moments felt like a true Egoyan film. A master of atmosphere, Egoyan failed to generate a mood worthy of a subject this weighty. I would have to say that this directly relates to the number of subplots and characters. With the number of these plots changing back and forth, a specific pace was not set and the tone that should have followed did not. Each new scene was charged with the burden of keeping up the tone of the previous, and most scenes failed to do so. Because of this, heavy emotional lines fall flat, and a few even cross the line into comedy. Starting out this film, I was optimistic, as I am normally a big fan of Egoyan, but as I continued to watch, I couldn't help but feel disappointed as to what this film could have been.
Alex A.
December 18, 2009
Even though most of the times movies that are based on true stories are extremely exciting, this one failed to impress.
blahquaker
June 20, 2007
the film spreads itself wide, with far too many subplots. and because of this, it takes a while to get into. but it continuously builds and becomes a very strong and imposing film by the 90-minute mark. and then it doesn't really carry that intensity through to the end...
so maybe the film isn't amazing throughout, and maybe the script is too complex for 115 minutes. but it sure has its moments of brilliance. sometimes those moments last for several minutes straight.
and I loved the idea behind the script. it never treats history like a showcase to be gawked at. rather, it dares to be selfish and have its characters ask "how does this history affect my life?". it's about searching for personal identity - and on that front, it's very effective.
folini
November 13, 2005
Interesting movie. I like the continuous shifting, while telling the story of the Armenian genocide, between the "filming a movie about the past" and "showing the past".
Academock
November 3, 2004
[b]DVD [/b]Second Viewing, 4 Egoyan films seen

The most complex historical film ever made. It is brilliant - critics unfairly bashed it for being confusing. Well, I hate to break it to you guys. But history is confusing. We weren't there, we don't know.

Fuck you if you voted for Bush. You are the true "terrorist."
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