Archangel (1991)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Set during the Bolshevik revolution, a Canadian soldier, a Belgian aviator and a Russian nurse, each overcome by mustard gas and the horrors of war, cannot remember who they are in love with.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: John B. Harvie, Guy Maddin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 2, 2002

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as Lt. John Boles

as Captain
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Critic Reviews for Archangel

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (3)

What comes across is a fascinating fetishist delirium, where memories of remote war movies get recycled into something that's alternately creepy and beautiful.

Full Review… | May 8, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Confused? No matter; so are the characters in this absurdist melodrama.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

From its flickering, inky cinematography to its wavering late 1920's-style sound track, to Veronkha's kohl-eyed vampish look, the movie is an expert parody of a period movie style.

Full Review… | September 18, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

... a surreal silent movie melodrama of love, war, and amnesia for the sound era: an absurdist silent WWI epic that never was.

Full Review… | December 21, 2010
Parallax View

Inspired absurdist melodrama.

Full Review… | October 1, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

At once perplexing and joyous, Maddin has crafted a film that, for all the confusion inherent in the tale, unfolds on its own unique (and rather tedious) terms.

Full Review… | September 18, 2004
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Archangel


In frozen Archangel in 1919, a one-legged lieutenant meets a woman whose husband has amnesia and believes it is always their wedding day, while the local militia fights both Germans and Bolsheviks, not realizing that both World War I and the Russian Revolution are over. A dreamlike and melancholy meditation on forgetfulness, ignorance and confusion, done in the style of an early sound film.

Greg S

Super Reviewer


It is Archangel, Russia in 1919 between World War I and the Russian Civil War. British Lieutenant John Boles(Kyle McCulloch) is assigned to billet with a native family where he winds up saving the life of Geza(David Falkenburg), their young child, but then he ends up having to be saved, too. In his delirium, he thinks he sees Iris, his dead wife, but it turns out to be only Veronkha(Kathy Marykuca) who is in fact married to Philbin(Ari Cohen). The only problem is Philbin cannot remember much of anything, much less who he might be married to.

One never watches a Guy Maddin film for historical realism(usually it involves being in the mood for something a little different) but it is important to note that "Archangel," one of his earliest features, is set in a time of uncertainty when nobody knows who is in charge or if there is a actually a war going on which is perfect for his dreamy style. That informs a lot of the relations between the characters which I could not sort out in a hundred years. That having been said, I still found enough to be intriguing and enjoyable to make it worth my time.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

After watching this I'm not quite convinced that Maddin and Lynch weren't separated at birth. Maddin doesn't make movies, so much as he transfers dreams to celluloid. I've given up on trying to explain his plots, since no synopsis ever really does the them justice. I'll just say that if you're a fan of surrealism, you should give this one a shot. I can almost guarantee that you won't be disappointed.

Shane Donnelly

Super Reviewer

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