Two Years at Sea (2012)
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, with Rivers's camera functioning as the lone connection between him and the world beyond his self-imposed isolation. -- (C) Anthology … More
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Critic Reviews for Two Years at Sea
Fascinating study of a self-sufficient man living with nature somewhere in the wilds of the Aberdeenshire forest.
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.
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.
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.
Thoreauvian self-sufficiency or classical pastoral engagement with nature and its creatures takes a back seat to the company of objects, trees and music.
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.
The stillness and silence with which we look upon Jake Williams ranges from curious to unnerving to fascinating.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.More
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