The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and
television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality
for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews
that are positive for a given film or television show.
From the Critics
From RT Users Like You!
The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
The Tomatometer is 75% or higher, with 40 reviews (movies) or 20 reviews (TV). At least 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
After re-watching this for the first time in several years, I'm convinced it's a comedy; a deeply disturbing, perverse comedy, but a comedy nonetheless. Much has been made of what, exactly, this film and the JG Ballard novel on which it's based are actually about. In Cronenbergian terms, I think it's about characters who want, in the words of Oliver Reed's Dr Raglan, inventor of the fictional Psychoplasmics therapy method and seeming antagonist of a much earlier Cronenberg thriller, The Brood, to 'go all the way through it...till [they] come out the other end.' Time and again we see characters pursuing every sensation to its most extreme conclusion; this is usually in the form of an orgasm, but Cronenberg litters the film with other examples, from stories and jokes to of course automobile accidents. It's through the latter that the film's protagonist, James Ballard (James Spader) meets Dr Helen Remington (Holly Hunter), whose husband Ballard accidentally killed when the car carrying the doctor and her husband collided with Ballard's out-of-control vehicle one cold night. After leaving the hospital, Ballard and his wife Catherine (Deborah Unger, who nearly walks away with the film), sex addicts in an open marriage, are introduced by Dr Remington to a small band of revolutionaries led by the grotesque but charismatic Vaughn (Elias Koteas). Vaughn believes in the 'psychologically fertilizing' properties of car crashes, seeing them not only as a form of sexual release, but a route to a higher plane of sensation. His perverse obsession with the 'benevolent psychopathology' behind vehicular trauma has developed into a small spectacle, as he stages, before enthusiastic audiences, reenactments of famous auto collisions. Early in the film he stages the fateful crash that claimed the life of 1950s icon James Dean; later he and the stunt driver who 'plays' Dean in the stunt plan their masterpiece: the Jayne Mansfield crash. Rosanna Arquette is on hand to provide some ghoulish humor as a quasi-robotic victim of multiple crashes, who is one of Vaughn's disciples. Practically all the characters have sex at some point, and the sex is of course filmed like car crashes. Moreover the world they inhabit is dominated by grays, blues, purples, browns -- all the different shades of bruising. This is more than just a film about a group of psychos on a death trip, and it is more than a series of sex scenes strung together. Car crashes and fucking are the media through which these lost souls communicate. Plenty of people hate this movie but in my view it's quite possibly the ultimate Cronenberg film. It's certainly one of his most beautifully made works. The cast are all game, and treat the material with the right degree of emotional remove; once again composer Howard Shore manages to locate the humanity within the bizarre story, and winds up contributing the best score he's ever composed, for Cronenberg or anyone else. And Peter Suschitzky's cinematography beautifully captures the surreal, ultra-modern tone of Ballard's hypnotic prose. Not for everyone -- indeed, many people loathe this film -- but a work of such steely elegance that I personally could never resist it.
'The Geneva Conventions may be today's morality, but tomorrow we'll have the Jakarta Conventions and dump the Geneva Conventions.' Chilling, tragic, and illuminating, this documentary explores the long-term effect of the 1965-66 massacres of Indonesian 'Communists' at the hands of the far-right forces of now-president Suharno (with the sanction of several Western governments, including the USA and UK) through a unique medium: director Joshua Oppenheimer has militant leader Anwar Congo and his fellow torturers perform fictional reenactments of their atrocities for his camera. The end result is a film that might be fatally unpleasant to watch, were it not for the bizarre, circus-like atmosphere that is created. Even these mock-up tortures are difficult to stomach however, and eventually Congo must confront the horror of what he did head-on, after years of haunting nightmares. It sounds impossibly lurid and sensationalistic, but the subject is treated with surprising sensitivity by the filmmakers, who somehow manage not only to keep the onscreen (simulated) violence from becoming too gratuitous, but also show the perpetrators of the massacre to be not monsters, but human beings. Not for the sensitive or easily disturbed, but required viewing for political-minded filmgoers.
Wonderful performance from Jill Larson in the titular role of a proper old Southern woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease, and from Anne Ramsay as her beleaguered semi-estranged lesbian daughter. A documentary film crew comes to visit Miss Logan, in order to record the struggles of an ordinary mother and daughter dealing with the debilitating disease. There are some strong sequences here, and the filmmakers display real insight by linking the onscreen frights we witness with the real-life tragedy and horror of disease and senility (which can be harrowing for all members of the family). What's remarkable isn't just that the film generates dread, but that it also generates a very real sense of despair, which should be familiar to anyone who's ever witnessed the mental and/or physical deterioration of a loved one. But I docked the film a star for once again indulging in that most tired and headache-inducing of gimmicks, the found footage trope. As for the story itself, it isn't terribly original and the climax foregoes the power of suggestion in favor of some half-assed pyrotechnics, and the confusing, aggravating 'documentary'-style photography doesn't help matters either. Nevertheless, this is overall a fairly solid horror thriller. I just wonder -- again and again and again -- when filmmakers will learn that you don't need to shake the camera around and diddle with the lights in order to scare your audience. Alfred Hitchcock, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, and George Romero have all created terrifying thrillers that have captivated audiences the world over, all without giving people motion sickness, or leaving them wondering just what the hell they're looking at. I maintain that the found footage sub genre is for filmmakers who don't want to do the work of putting their films together properly. Guys, this does NOT make your film scary; it makes your film sloppy and irritating. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, I'm begging you once and for all: STOP.