Borderline - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Borderline Reviews

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½ December 18, 2014
I admired this very experimental film starring Paul Robeson, taking a look at racism in England, especially in consideration of how interracial relationships were perceived. Though it drifts and loses focus at times, Kenneth MacPherson's work is good, and Robeson was very brave to take a chance on it. The newly made soundtrack for the Criterion Collection release by Courtney Pine is outstanding.
January 5, 2013
Interesting and super abstract film about race, I THINK. The director, Kenneth Macpherson certainly is uh, abstract in his filmmaking to make a point, this film is way waaaaay ahead of it's time, definitely a work of art,,, But is it good? Kind of.. Robeson is always amazing to look at and you have to give credit to the director for making it, but it's certainly not 100% interesting.,
May 16, 2010
kevin macpherson, a film theorist whose only film was this, has created what most would consider a mildly bizarre avant garde film. it is, by my reckoning, one of the more accessible of its ilk, however. its a silent film that hints at a story of interracial affairs, racism, alcoholism, among other things. im looking forward to learning more about macpherson.
September 10, 2008
A bizarre little film. A rather ground breaking film for it's depiction of an interacial love triangle and sexuality. The film was directed by Kevin Macpherson, who was editor of Britian's first film journal 'Close-Up'.
The story involves two couples. A black couple Pete (played by African-American actor/singer/activist, Paul Robeson) and Adah. Also a white couple Thorne and Astrid. Adah is having an affair with Thorne, which obviously doesn't please Pete or Astrid. It's then that Thorne accidently kills Astrid, yet he escapes punishment and Pete is forced to leave. As well as the interacial theme, there's a few subtle homosexual references in minor characters. Such as the manageress and barmaid at the inn and how the pianist longingly looks at a picture of Pete whilst playing.
Though the story is not always easy to follow, mainly due to the shortage of intertitles, it is however very experimental, and uses rapid montage sequences clearly influenced by the editing of Sergei Eisenstein.
littlecharmer1959
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2008
A bizarre little film. A rather ground breaking film for it's depiction of an interacial love triangle and sexuality. The film was directed by Kevin Macpherson, who was editor of Britian's first film journal 'Close-Up'.
The story involves two couples. A black couple Pete (played by African-American actor/singer/activist, Paul Robeson) and Adah. Also a white couple Thorne and Astrid. Adah is having an affair with Thorne, which obviously doesn't please Pete or Astrid. It's then that Thorne accidently kills Astrid, yet he escapes punishment and Pete is forced to leave. As well as the interacial theme, there's a few subtle homosexual references in minor characters. Such as the manageress and barmaid at the inn and how the pianist longingly looks at a picture of Pete whilst playing.
Though the story is not always easy to follow, mainly due to the shortage of intertitles, it is however very experimental, and uses rapid montage sequences clearly influenced by the editing of Sergei Eisenstein.
½ June 9, 2008
Intriguing silent feature by Kenneth MacPherson, a man of means responsible for starting the 1920's British Avant-Garde film journal Close Up.

Assuredly visual, 'Borderline' is obviously in thrall to the films championed by the journal (in particular, those of Eisenstien, Murnau, and the Surrealists) with its mad rapid montages, unusual camera angels and composition.
Occasionally, the film even seems to pre-date French New Wave works like 'Breathless' with its jump cuts and source lighting but is ultimately less assured when it comes to telling a story. The lack of intertitles is clearly inspired by Murnau's 'The Last Laugh' but, unlike that masterwork, 'Borderline' doesn't always successfully get its narrative across without them.

The BFI DVD's sometimes overbearing score by Courtney Pine lapses between moments of sympathy with the image and the overwhelming impression of ace musicians simply jamming for the sake of it.

All in all, a worthy curio for aficionados of the period.
February 25, 2008
Funky, but baffling.
½ January 28, 2008
bore-derline more like.
Super Reviewer
½ January 10, 2008
I saw this film in an art house in Edinburgh as part of a course I was taking at the time... features H.D., author of A Tribute to Freud, and unique in its existence as a totally silent movie - no words but no music either, rare for its time. Problem is, when totally silent, there is a significant sleep risk... especially as a student studying abroad with a two-week hangover built up. I'm told that I had a pretty serious snoring problem (real rating pending).
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