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Two Years at Sea (2012)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

63

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 148

My Rating

Movie Info

Ben Rivers renewed his relationship with Jake Williams, a man living in a decrepit house in the Scottish Highlands who had served as the subject of his earlier short film, This Is My Land (2006), in this feature-length exploration of solitude and the present's slow crawl into the future. Situated squarely within what seems to be the perfect environment for his sensibility and temperament, Jake goes about his daily routine across the four seasons in the near-complete absence of any human ties,

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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (2) | DVD (1)

The first feature-length effort by noted experimental filmmaker Ben Rivers demonstrates such mastery of the image that it's worth seeing for the textures alone.

November 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The imagery has all the solemn ravishment of Béla Tarr's similarly darkening The Turin Horse with none of the epochal portentousness, while Rivers's work owes more to Billy Bitzer than most gallery art contemporaries.

October 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Thoreauvian self-sufficiency or classical pastoral engagement with nature and its creatures takes a back seat to the company of objects, trees and music.

October 11, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Moments feel like a profoundly harmonic convergence between man and nature, though mileage will vary from viewer to viewer as to whether this singularly eccentric movie is ultimately illuminating or enervating.

October 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It begs one question: can a man being filmed day and night really be tagged a hermit? But, then, that's our tag, not the film's. Tricky, this film, tricky.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fascinating study of a self-sufficient man living with nature somewhere in the wilds of the Aberdeenshire forest.

August 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Rivers' use of older camera equipment gives Two Years At Sea the look of an old piece of film that's been left behind by a long-gone civilization, capturing the last man on Earth, and showing how he made use of all the old junk society left behind.

August 6, 2013 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

The stillness and silence with which we look upon Jake Williams ranges from curious to unnerving to fascinating.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

It's a contemplative film, and most members of the audience are likely to be contemplating how they can get out of the cinema without appearing to be philistines.

May 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

In a world where 'sharing' our lives has become the norm there is something wonderfully honest and uplifting about seeing a life which unfolds, for the most part, whilst no one is watching.

May 4, 2012 Full Review Source: The List
The List

repeated, often prolonged images of Williams napping also unavoidably bring home the film's soporific effect on the viewer. If the protagonist can sleep through his own feature, why shouldn't we?

May 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

Quietly enigmatic, valuable work.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

A remarkably lyrical and ideologically cohesive doc-fiction hybrid.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Audience Reviews for Two Years at Sea

There is no denying that Two Years at Sea is a beautifully filmed movie, possibly one of the most beautiful I've seen in the last 10 years. Unfortunately, that's about all there is to it. I'm a big fan of these types of films usually but I felt that there was an interesting story here that just wasn't being told. A Werner Herzog narration would have been nice but that's just my tastes.
December 18, 2012
SirPant

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