Dec 12, 2017
Despair does absolutely nothing worth doing, but it does succeed in one area where several hack directors before him failed: bagging a bad performance from Dirk Bogarde.
Mar 18, 2015
Dirk Bogarde, looking natty and nerve-worn, is exactly right as the fissured Hermann, a chocolate manufacturer whose business has turned bitter.
Mar 18, 2015
The resultant film is, he says, faithful to both Stoppard's script and Nabokov's novel; it is certainly not faithful to Fassbinder, who is here seen tripping over one style after another and ending up utterly ditched.
Mar 18, 2015
Certainly Dirk Bogarde's performance, although arch and mannered, is uncomfortably compelling. And the cinematography is undeniably striking. But I can't say I enjoyed it.
Mar 18, 2015
The first half is oppressive, cluttered, and funny, but as the film forsakes its artificial settings for more open spaces, it becomes pale and mechanical.
Mar 18, 2015
[It's] Rainer Werner Fassbinder's most obsessively arty movie and by no means his best. Even so, it is wildly distinctive.
Jul 30, 2012
Unpleasant but thoughtful and provocative psychodrama set in Berlin, in the 1930s.
Feb 27, 2012
Fassbinder films life in the cosseted class as a masque of glass and mirrors, replete with alluring deceptions and suave surfaces that belie volcanic passions.
Jan 10, 2012
Everything about Despair feels queasily off - the plot, the acting, the dialogue and the fussily over-decorated sets.
Jan 5, 2012
A superb surrealist noir.
Jan 5, 2012
Effortlessly literate [and] gaudily stylish.
Jun 10, 2011
Not one of [Fassbinder's] best.
Jun 7, 2011
Of the authorial trifecta that created Despair, director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's voice is the most pronounced.
Feb 4, 2010
A lambent house of cards
Mar 26, 2009
Despite a witty, albeit theatrical, script by Tom Stoppard, prolific German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder does not quite bring off the spirited linguistic innovations, wit and penetrating insights of Vladimir Nabokov's novel.
Sep 18, 2006
It is beautifully photographed by Ballhaus in a frame filled with reflective glass and mirrors.
May 20, 2006
Bogarde never allows us to dismiss Hermann, or worse, to pity him. He remains endlessly fascinating, even at his most repellent.
May 6, 2006
The result is a marvel of literate, elegant dialogue and, if nothing else, Fassbinder deserves credit himself for not being afraid to take chances.
Jan 26, 2006
Bold, garish and obsessive, but more than a little irritating.
Jun 26, 2005