Ararat - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ararat Reviews

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April 30, 2017
It's a deeply serious movie that cares passionately about its subject, but too often becomes ponderous in its teaching of history, or lost in the intricate connections and multiple timelines of its story.
May 20, 2014
A dreadful film with a dreadful plot.
October 21, 2013
Music congers up the mystic of the near east. Some famous names add depth to this movie with the strength of their characters. The story is harsh as it looks at past history from the making of a movie. Script is bitty at times as is the editing and direction making for a movie that lacks flow and gets confusing with the sub-plots that fail to complete. Nibbles: Meze.
½ May 18, 2013
I loved Egoyan's film Adoration, but although this movie had a necessary message, it lacked the gut-wrenching punch that many films about the Holocaust during WWII have. For some reason, the film within the film comes across as very stilted and too didactic, reminding me of poor quality movies from Sunday school classes in my youth. There are also too many plot lines here that take away from the impact a single focus could have brought to the finished project. Some scenes were very effective, but not the film as a whole. However, it did bring some questions to the fore, such as why Hitler's genocide, the practical extinction of Native Americans, and the enslavement of africans all get so much attention, but the annihilation of the Armenians so little.
½ November 22, 2012
The Armenian Genocide have never been a shock to us as the Holocaust was which probably all have heard of. But very few is aware that it was an Armenian executed by the Turks where around 1.5 million Armenians died. To this day, the Turkish government denies that there ever where a genocide, which have shaken the relationship between the two once peaceful people. There's some countries that have accepted the genocide, and some countries that doesn't. It's a questions about facts. And that's probably why there isn't any Armenian Schindler's List.

The Canadian-Armenian director Atom Egoyan's Ararat is probably the closes thing, and probably the closes thing to the truth, because it's a film about the making of a film about the Armenian Genocide directed by Edward Saroyan following the story of the young expressionist painter, Arshile Gorky and his struggles during the Genocide. And of course this film within the film is lavish and one dimensional that doesn't tell the truth. But our protagonist is the camera assistant Raffi, who's suppose to bring the film footage back to Canada from Turkey. But at the airport the custom officer (Christopher Plummer) suspect that there's other things inside the film cans besides film and Raffi tells him everything about the making of the film.

Ararat is not a bad film, but it's far from great, thanks to all it's almost useless subplots that doesn't evolves the genocide at all. and a to theatrical meta film making, which makes the film within the film a propaganda film. But Ararat also show us the other side and the doubt within the characters, and how their fascination to the Armenian genocide, where we see in the relation between Riffi and his mother. I also liked Christopher Plummer's performance and the interrogation plot line, which is for the outsider's who never heard of the Armenian genocide. I though this film was in a way to pretentious and to naive. I'm you looking for the ultimate coverage of the Armenian genocide, then sadly this is the closes you get, because theirs few films about that subject matter. I would have loved if this film was provoking, but it isn't. It's a safe drama film. I hope this a real epic about the Armenian genocide is coming soon. But for now, Ararat is the best we got, and it's overall not that bad. Thumbs up.
Critique Threatt
Super Reviewer
August 31, 2012
Atom Egoyan is probably my fav filmmaker in cinema today. He is a man who is a master of telling complex, web weaving stories. His film "Ararat" is an ambitious project that explains a bit about the Armenian genocide of 1915 but some how loses it's focus due to the complex narrative.

This is a very confusing film and yet it is very well made. The plot is told in trademark Egoyan fashion (non linear, damaged, alienated charcters) but the flaw is Egoyan's handling of the material. I was hoping that Egoyan would have made the film more emotional and heartbreaking like "Schindler's List" and just tell the story of the genocide, the Armenians sufferings and pain rather then adding different layers, different stories, and different characters to confuse movie goers. Sure that style has worked in previous Egoyan pictures but not in this one. Even the handling of the massacre lacks an emotional punch. Truth be told I didn't really care about the genocide of 1915 or it's recents events. What's worst, it's created in this film within a film making it all the more confusing.

With that being said I guess what I admired about the picture was the performance from Elias Koteas who plays a homosexual character and is given a huge part to play in a movie about the genocide. Koteas character is seen very uncomfortable playing a racist, turkish villian (and well who wouldn't be?) but plays him nonetheless although he wonders if he was given the part for the right reasons or the wrong one? The film also deals with a filmmaker making a a picture about the 1915 massacre, a young adult who is trying to buy his way through customs but is accused of smuggling drugs by carrying them in film cans, a woman who is an expert on Arshile Gorky is haunted by her step daughter's debatable questions, and on and on and on.

I guess I would still somewhat recommend the film since it is very well made and yet it is Egoyan's least accomplished works he has ever made. If only the film had some kinda resonance, "Ararat" would not only of find it's true audience, the picture could have been seen as a true work of art.
July 21, 2012
This is a difficult film to follow. There are several stories being told, with the backdrop being the Armenian Genocide. Despite being difficult to follow, I found myself unable to pull away. I believe the film gets better with each viewing. It definitely left me wanting to learn more about the plight of the Armenians.
May 15, 2012
Just a really poorly made movie, especially considering that the story it is based on is so interesting.
September 7, 2011
Discusses the Armenian genocide in Eastern Turkey, through the eyes of an Armenian painter/escapee. I didn't understand the link between the annoying step-sister/mother/son storyline with the backstory (in that Turkey denies the genocide ever happened.)
June 13, 2011
½ March 9, 2011
What a complex, layered gem that all folds together and resonates beautifully. Egoyan is a master structuralist and one of our greatest writer/directors. I can't even begin to contemplate being able to write at this level.
March 8, 2011
This movie stayed in my mind long after I saw it. I was brought up with my Grandmother who resembled the mother of the painter in the movie. I have heard the tale of the massacre from my family and from my grandmother. I have seen her scars. I have heard her wake up in the middle of the night screaming.... she died when she was about 100. Her exact age uncertain because she had blocked out memories. I have always been awed by her history and her ability to survive. The movie brought back things that she taught me.... exactly. How could a movie bring the complexity of a people destroyed, yet in many ways vibrant. I have heard the same things that the turkish man in the movie said. I was confused by the plot, but I could tell that the plot did not transcend the story- the story itself was like a painting. Like the hands of the mother in the painting, unfinished.... or left unclear for you and I to imagine. Anyone seeing the movie should probably let go of a need to control the story and simply observe.... and get uncomfortable... take the nuggets of the film much like Charles Az... character did with the pomegranate, treasure the seeds in your stomach since history does not give us the room to eat each seed one at a time. What I realized after the movie is how lucky I am to be alive. I am grateful for the courage and imagination that Egoyan and others used to create this ground breaking film. I am now two days after seeing the movie and I continue to appreciate what the artists did. Anyone seeing the movie and judging it as a "melodrama" has not really understood it- I believe. The movie transcends a genocide of a people and brings up the issue of accountability for the every day person. The movie affirms humanity and the value of a person's individual experience.
January 3, 2011
Any quibbles I had with the length of this film are overshadowed by its intellectual ambition and the gracefulness of the performances. It's a must for anyone who is serious about film, history or film history.
December 25, 2010
Started off well, but grew more insufferable and heavy handed with each passing scene, so that by the end I wanted to strangle half the characters. Koteas is a clown, Croze an irritating, disrespectful shit and I really didn't appreciate being lectured about history by this floppy-haired hipster. Gah.
November 23, 2010
Ararat is not a bad film by Atom Egoyan, but out of the five films of his I've seen so far it is my least favorite.
October 5, 2010
Brilliant propaganda submerged in post-modern genre, excellently acted, shot & directed, but too heavy handed didactic to push Armenian "genocide" label for a brutal historical reality amidst chaotic political & ethnic conflict throughout the region. Glosses over Russian involvement & missionary bias. A strong cinematic statement, not entertainment.
½ May 10, 2010
I can't help but think this film could have been so much more. I think one reason why I did not wholly enjoy the film was that it never for more than a few moments felt like a true Egoyan film. A master of atmosphere, Egoyan failed to generate a mood worthy of a subject this weighty. I would have to say that this directly relates to the number of subplots and characters. With the number of these plots changing back and forth, a specific pace was not set and the tone that should have followed did not. Each new scene was charged with the burden of keeping up the tone of the previous, and most scenes failed to do so. Because of this, heavy emotional lines fall flat, and a few even cross the line into comedy. Starting out this film, I was optimistic, as I am normally a big fan of Egoyan, but as I continued to watch, I couldn't help but feel disappointed as to what this film could have been.
½ May 3, 2010
I don't believe Egoyan managed to connect all the dots as well as he hoped, but this still quite a powerful movie.
April 18, 2010
Arguably the best movie about genocide, and a meditation about the moral ambiguity of historical truth. If only Atom Egoyan had made a film about the military dictatorship in Chile...
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