Kárhozat, (Damnation) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Kárhozat, (Damnation) Reviews

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December 12, 2015
Béla Tarr's reputation mostly rings true upon viewing his work; he does not trade in happiness. Damnation is a bleak film, to the point that it opens on some creaky lifts taking people back and forth over and over again and only gets more monotonous from there. The apartments his characters live in are dirty, the town is constantly deluged with rain, mud is everywhere, the environment so depressing that a trip to a local nightclub where a woman sings about how nothing will ever be good again seems like a welcome bit of levity. The music is repetitive, as are the natural sounds. Someone recites passages from the bible about how god wants to kill us all. When people have sex, it is lifeless. And yet, he makes the case that in this lonely, desolate world, relationships present a means of survival, and that bit of hope (that is ultimately tethered to the inevitability of death, but I digress) is what elevates it beyond mere cruelty.

I watched this because I was sad and because it's currently raining, and the characters' empty existences actually made me feel better through comparison.
Super Reviewer
November 24, 2015
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.
½ November 18, 2014
Somewhere in Hungary you find the Titanic Bar, like in Helsinki you find the Corona Bar......
August 19, 2014
The utter definition of hungarian cinema. Dark, brooding, and psychologically difficult. This movie is a stylistic and thematic combination of cassavetes, and tarkovsky. It is not only one of the greatest movies, (along with many other films, as many of my friends know... such as most recently "Under the Skin") and is a new major inspiration to who I am as a person, and what I want to achieve in the realm of film. Thank you Bela Tarr
June 11, 2014
depressive to the core.
½ March 5, 2013
Big fan. Tarr's the man.
November 1, 2012
The pivotal piece of Tarr's masterful filmmaking career, as it's the one in which he arrived at the singular style that became his cinema identity and produced three unblemished masterworks that followed.
½ October 25, 2012
Visually, it's THE BEST rainy, wet, depressing, gloomy, damp film I've ever seen. But the slow pace and seemingly pointless plot are some times just unbearable. I actually watched this months ago, and stopped because it's too boring and continued it just now. I'm quite simple minded person, I think this movie is just all about moods.
February 11, 2012
nakonec tarrovi na chut snad prijdu
½ April 16, 2011
Seeing this after Satantango is like reading Bela Tarr Cliff Notes. His style is there -- beautiful black and white images of rain, mud, downtrodden people and the slowest prowling camera you have ever seen, moving through and along walls and right up against people -- but the plot is minimal. Whereas in Satantango I felt a continual sense of huh?, here the film noir trappings leave little room for interpretation/confusion. Still, these long held images challenge you not to drift away or into them.
½ January 25, 2011
rain, rain, rain, mud, mud, booze, accordions, crime, love, philosophy, despair...and incredibly long, sparse, slow, steady, beautiful black-and-white shots. bela tarr makes some of the most singularly beautiful films that hungary's tourism board will never license the use of.
½ July 22, 2010
Standard Bela Tarr. Not a criticism. Standard Tarr is a masterpiece for everyone else. Pure beauty captured on film. Achingly good.
March 26, 2010
Damnation is a very stylish movie. Now I just want to go out and take black and white pictures.
½ March 1, 2010
not as enjoyable and accessible as Werckmeister Harmonies. But don't worry, the Tarr trademark (black and white, extended long shot, little dialogue ) is there
January 4, 2010
Tarr Béla: Damnation

the world of the damned

It might be scary that Tarr's masterpiece doesn't have a usual plot, its not about telling a story or judging, but it presents an inner state of a nation and a culture that is projected to a small Hungarian village at the back of beyond and its inhabitants.

damnation on all levels

Through the movie with still and clean pictures the main theme is shown in many aspects. Emotional and sexual damnation appears in the tragic-comic relationship of the main character Karrer and a bar singer. They are created as opposite as they could be: Karrer, being emotionally overcharged and having neither with nor without relations to women, because of being on another level of abstraction he totally neglects the fact of reality and importance of sexuality. Meanwhile the bar singer is being an emotional vegetable and (like the Jacques Audiards prophet) without moral or any deeper thinking or reasoning she acts the best possible in the present situation, giving herself to the man in charge.
The most amusing aspect for me was the environmental and the financial damnation. I believe that the environment is strongly connected to the finance and economy. Traveling through the images of the village reminds me of some Jim Jarmusch's road movie slow pictures and still faces, the same emptiness is felt but on an uncomfortable way, and while Jarmusch's world is infinite Tarr is making it claustrophobically small. The viewer is trapped in empty rooms streets and a bar, has the feeling of constantly turning around in one spot and not being able to get away. Seeing strangers but yet so familiar blighted faces from whom is impossible to hide. By and by the viewer excepts that the only distant things visible are mining machines through Karrer’s window.
One religious and/or spiritual symbol existed: the prophet in the shape of a cloakroom attendant. The old lady was a tiny candle light in a big dark room full of people damned to blindness. The only hope for the characters was walking between them preaching about the facts and reality which could lead to their salvation. For the tragedy to be bigger, it was in vain, blind people do not see the light.

not depressive but rather melancholic

Melancholy is a key for the movie. Some theories believe that it is caused by the concepts of sin, atonement, damnation and salvation. Through years melancholy was primer characteristic of Hungarians, always resurrected by religions like catholicism, communism and capitalism. Hungary was practically under the Russians from 1945 to 1989, no revolution had success in changing that. Even years before the nation was not on its own, having the German and Austrian power over them. Tarr's movie was made in the ending years of national slavery which is believed to be the damnation to Hungarian people, a bitter taste of melancholy in mouth. The question left behind might be: what is the reason of damnation? I think even this question is being answered between the lines.
November 5, 2009
Bela Tarr is a gifted director; fatalistic characters, grimey and drenched locals, and exquisite black & white cinematography. With his long tracking shots he allows his characters to move uninterrupted through their worlds; making them and their environments cohesive and believable. These are now his trademarks. He loves his characters; his creations. Even in the film's final moments, in the bar, Bela wants us to look closely and remember these characters, their faces, no matter how insignificant.
October 31, 2009
After falling totally in love with Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies, I got this through Netflix, and got another unbelievable film. To start off, anybody in CineD looking for a great new director to get into who is really powerful and innovative, get on this train. The film has the usual Tarr pacing, and really powerful symbolism, from the buckets to the dogs to the torrential downpours. This is a movie about madness and misery and broken people. Really intense. Some dialogue that really shook me, notably about the concept of finding someone who "makes talking seem meaningful" and the "enticing tunnel to your world which nobody else knows about." And by the end, this man is walking in the pouring rain through a barren wasteland, with dogs barking and slurping water on the ground, having completely isolated himself from society. This is slow dark stuff, but really just wonderful in every way I can think of. Each day brings me closer to Satantango.
Super Reviewer
August 14, 2009
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.
August 9, 2009
Not as striking as his later work, but still affecting and amazing to watch.
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