Dawson City: Frozen Time Reviews

  • Antonius B Super Reviewer
    Oct 28, 2018

    A documentary that tries to do just a little too much. The story itself is fascinating â" the discovery in 1978 of a trove of lost silent films preserved in the permafrost of Dawson City, Canada. To me, the â~star of the showâ(TM) in the documentary needs to be the films, and I would have liked the focus to be there, after an introductory explanation of context. Instead, director Bill Morrison rewinds us all the way back through the history of Dawson, from its founding, the Yukon gold rush, and the subsequent changes to the town over the years. He also takes us through various news stories and social movements from the 1910â(TM)s and 1920â(TM)s, as they relate to footage that was discovered. I like history and some of this was interesting to me, and at its best he matches photos to footage (for example, a socialist agitator being deported back to Russia). At its worst he gets into minutiae of Dawsonâ(TM)s history, and instead of just showing some number of the silent films fragments themselves with explanation of the actors, attempts to match footage to what people in the present are talking about. For example, one of the discoverers of the trove says he had to call someone up to come have a look at it, so as heâ(TM)s describing that, we see footage of someone on the phone in an old movie. The background music is awfully eerie and odd in places too. It was interesting enough to watch and a lot of research and care went into the production, so depending on your interests, you may like it better.

    A documentary that tries to do just a little too much. The story itself is fascinating â" the discovery in 1978 of a trove of lost silent films preserved in the permafrost of Dawson City, Canada. To me, the â~star of the showâ(TM) in the documentary needs to be the films, and I would have liked the focus to be there, after an introductory explanation of context. Instead, director Bill Morrison rewinds us all the way back through the history of Dawson, from its founding, the Yukon gold rush, and the subsequent changes to the town over the years. He also takes us through various news stories and social movements from the 1910â(TM)s and 1920â(TM)s, as they relate to footage that was discovered. I like history and some of this was interesting to me, and at its best he matches photos to footage (for example, a socialist agitator being deported back to Russia). At its worst he gets into minutiae of Dawsonâ(TM)s history, and instead of just showing some number of the silent films fragments themselves with explanation of the actors, attempts to match footage to what people in the present are talking about. For example, one of the discoverers of the trove says he had to call someone up to come have a look at it, so as heâ(TM)s describing that, we see footage of someone on the phone in an old movie. The background music is awfully eerie and odd in places too. It was interesting enough to watch and a lot of research and care went into the production, so depending on your interests, you may like it better.

  • Oct 07, 2018

    Unlike anything I have ever seen. Haunting and revealing.

    Unlike anything I have ever seen. Haunting and revealing.

  • Sep 18, 2018

    great idea, fantastic scope but the overindulgence of the director results in a severe mismatch between the expectations of the audience and the director's end causing many to helplessly flail as the movie persists beyond the one and a half hour mark after which every "new" point of information is a sad ghost of what has already been presented.

    great idea, fantastic scope but the overindulgence of the director results in a severe mismatch between the expectations of the audience and the director's end causing many to helplessly flail as the movie persists beyond the one and a half hour mark after which every "new" point of information is a sad ghost of what has already been presented.

  • Sep 09, 2018

    Watched some of it. Really cool history, saved from burial! Would love to have a copy of the documentary

    Watched some of it. Really cool history, saved from burial! Would love to have a copy of the documentary

  • Apr 11, 2018

    An incredible documentary on silent film. A must watch for any film enthusiast or person interested in film history.

    An incredible documentary on silent film. A must watch for any film enthusiast or person interested in film history.

  • Jan 21, 2018

    Very interesting movie! The creators really went in depth on the history of Dawson City and Silent films in general. The footage found was incredible.

    Very interesting movie! The creators really went in depth on the history of Dawson City and Silent films in general. The footage found was incredible.

  • Dec 28, 2017

    The awards season is an extraordinarily busy time for film critics. With hundreds of films big and small jockeying for our attention, it can be nearly impossible to get to everything. When you're a critic who also has a day job, that task becomes even more daunting. That's why I love year-end Top 10 lists. I follow as many as I can find from every place around the world so I can try to get to anything that deeply touched a fellow critic. I was lucky then to be reading the Film Comment list of the Top 20 movies of 2017 when the title Dawson City: Frozen Time caught my eye. I had seen that the film had been added to FilmStruck, the arthouse streaming service I subscribe to. Since it was one of the few I hadn't seen and it was so available I decided to watch it and I am so glad I did. Dawson City: Frozen Time is one of the most fascinating and exceptional documentaries I have ever seen. https://geeks.media/movie-review-dawson-city-frozen-time?_ga=2.255164616.1126457623.1513947710-953607229.1513947710

    The awards season is an extraordinarily busy time for film critics. With hundreds of films big and small jockeying for our attention, it can be nearly impossible to get to everything. When you're a critic who also has a day job, that task becomes even more daunting. That's why I love year-end Top 10 lists. I follow as many as I can find from every place around the world so I can try to get to anything that deeply touched a fellow critic. I was lucky then to be reading the Film Comment list of the Top 20 movies of 2017 when the title Dawson City: Frozen Time caught my eye. I had seen that the film had been added to FilmStruck, the arthouse streaming service I subscribe to. Since it was one of the few I hadn't seen and it was so available I decided to watch it and I am so glad I did. Dawson City: Frozen Time is one of the most fascinating and exceptional documentaries I have ever seen. https://geeks.media/movie-review-dawson-city-frozen-time?_ga=2.255164616.1126457623.1513947710-953607229.1513947710

  • Nov 25, 2017

    Way way too long and way way too arty for the subject matter, which is interesting. Not so interested in this kind of perspective which I found unbearably tedious.

    Way way too long and way way too arty for the subject matter, which is interesting. Not so interested in this kind of perspective which I found unbearably tedious.

  • Nov 12, 2017

    very slow. interesting story. would have appreciated a more upbeat soundtrack! I fell asleep several times early on and therefore missed a lot of information that was merely printed onscreen.

    very slow. interesting story. would have appreciated a more upbeat soundtrack! I fell asleep several times early on and therefore missed a lot of information that was merely printed onscreen.

  • Oct 16, 2017

    This is a masterpiece. In the format of an avant-garde homage to silent film, it tells the story of Dawson City, a gold rush town from the Klondike days and a grand cache of old movies that were buried there a long time ago. Numerous celebrities passed through this speck of a boomtown in upper upper Canada in one crazy coincidence after another but the real highlight here is the way the movie explains why silent films were so short-lived and combustible that few of them remain to be enjoyed today and how this bitty town ended up with a massive collection of them entombed under an old theater which were dug up and spirited off to libraries as, in some cases, the only remaining copies. Beautiful music, nostalgic presentation, and amazing story.

    This is a masterpiece. In the format of an avant-garde homage to silent film, it tells the story of Dawson City, a gold rush town from the Klondike days and a grand cache of old movies that were buried there a long time ago. Numerous celebrities passed through this speck of a boomtown in upper upper Canada in one crazy coincidence after another but the real highlight here is the way the movie explains why silent films were so short-lived and combustible that few of them remain to be enjoyed today and how this bitty town ended up with a massive collection of them entombed under an old theater which were dug up and spirited off to libraries as, in some cases, the only remaining copies. Beautiful music, nostalgic presentation, and amazing story.