The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Ant-Man and the Wasp
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All Critics (12)
| Top Critics (3)
| Fresh (11)
| Rotten (1)
| DVD (2)
It's a serotonin-depleted ordeal, and yet seemingly a sketchbook of vibes and ideas to come, with some of the most magnificent black-and-white images shot anywhere in the world.
If its grey aura of despair sometimes hangs a mite heavily, it's certainly worth persevering with for a pay-off that is as perverse as it is powerful.
The near miracle is that something so compulsively watchable can be made out of a setting and society that seem so depressive and petrified.
A more awesomely bleak portrait of town life is hard to conceive.
Beginning with a long, slow tracking shot of a coal transport gondola being viewed by a man from his window, we immediately note a director in complete control. The scene is meticulously composed...
nobody subjects humanity to doom-laden fatalism quite like Tarr, and Damnation is unmissable for fans of the auteur's oeuvre, or of mud-spattered miserabilism in general.
Gloom was never photographed so smartly.
In terms of creating a strong cinematic world, Tarr has few equals.
Intellectually provocative and ultimately profoundly affecting.
Not cheery, perhaps, but a gorgeously shot and beautifully composed piece that is not as depressing as it might appear.
Tarr's uncompromisingly tragic view of the human condition is well supported by a rigorous formal approach, resulting in an austere work of art.
A ponderous film which for all its moments of beauty and exceptional ugliness is still a trial to watch.
If Tarkovsky had made Wings of Desire, I guess it would look a lot like this, a bleak, formally rigorous film in which every single gorgeous shot is meticulously calculated, only it is too oppressive and detached as it observes a filthy loner who tests our patience with endless existential aphorisms.
In "Damnation," a singer(Vali Kerekes) closes the door literally and figuratively on her affair with Karrer(Miklos B. Szekely), choosing to stay with her family. So, Karrer becomes so depressed that he turns down an offer to travel to pick up a package, claiming he does not feel like going anywhere, despite quite possibly living in the infamous Armpit of the Universe. Instead, he proposes that the singer's husband Sebastyen(Gyorgy Cserhalmi) take the job for 20% which would clear up their debts.
With "Damnation," director Bela Tarr slows down the pace to create a sense that the characters are stuck in their predicaments without any hope of escape. This is especially true of Karrer who spends an awful lot of time looking at the aerial tram going past his windows. The only problem with this stylistic approach is that as often as it works(a slow pan around a bedroom), it just as much annoys. For example, no establishing shot should last a minute. And there are quite a few times when there is nothing of interest in the frame which leaves plenty of time for the viewer to get a drink, use the bathroom or work on the New York Times crossword puzzle.
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