Mary Poppins Returns
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No consensus yet.
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All Critics (23)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (15)
| Rotten (8)
Dirk Bogarde, looking natty and nerve-worn, is exactly right as the fissured Hermann, a chocolate manufacturer whose business has turned bitter.
The first half is oppressive, cluttered, and funny, but as the film forsakes its artificial settings for more open spaces, it becomes pale and mechanical.
Fassbinder films life in the cosseted class as a masque of glass and mirrors, replete with alluring deceptions and suave surfaces that belie volcanic passions.
Effortlessly literate [and] gaudily stylish.
Despite a witty, albeit theatrical, script by Tom Stoppard, prolific German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder does not quite bring off the spirited linguistic innovations, wit and penetrating insights of Vladimir Nabokov's novel.
Bold, garish and obsessive, but more than a little irritating.
Despair does absolutely nothing worth doing, but it does succeed in one area where several hack directors before him failed: bagging a bad performance from Dirk Bogarde.
The resultant film is, he says, faithful to both Stoppard's script and Nabokov's novel; it is certainly not faithful to Fassbinder, who is here seen tripping over one style after another and ending up utterly ditched.
Certainly Dirk Bogarde's performance, although arch and mannered, is uncomfortably compelling. And the cinematography is undeniably striking. But I can't say I enjoyed it.
[It's] Rainer Werner Fassbinder's most obsessively arty movie and by no means his best. Even so, it is wildly distinctive.
Unpleasant but thoughtful and provocative psychodrama set in Berlin, in the 1930s.
Everything about Despair feels queasily off - the plot, the acting, the dialogue and the fussily over-decorated sets.
Despair is a fun and absurd feature. The filmmaking is reminiscent of Bunuel, especially the upfront symbolic imagery, yet the style is distinctly playful, both camera work and acting.
As Fassbinder's first film in English, this psychedelic drama may have an intriguing story but the direction is heavy-handed and lacks that conviction found in his earlier works. Especially the tone he adopts seems incompatible with the kind of story he wants to tell.
Personally, I think this is one of Bogarde's finest roles.
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