Despair (Despair - Eine Reise ins Licht) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Despair (Despair - Eine Reise ins Licht) Reviews

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Robert B.
Super Reviewer
September 30, 2015
Despair is a fun and absurd feature. The filmmaking is reminiscent of Bunuel, especially the upfront symbolic imagery, yet the style is distinctly playful, both camera work and acting.
November 27, 2014
I would have met Fassbinder to congrats to him
September 24, 2014
I wish I had watched a double of this movie instead, one that wasn't so metaphysical or psychological. A poor imposter for criticism of the bourgeoisie, capitalism, nazism/fascism.
½ January 17, 2014
Surrealistic adaptation of Nabokov's is both experimental and oddly poised. From a highly cerebral Stoppard script, Fassbinder propels his film forward using the unsettling staging of his actors and the lushly beautiful work of cinematographer, Michael Ballhaus. The cinematic metaphor is rather clunky, but effective. As the Nazis assume power over Germany a successful chocolate maker begins to slip into existential delusions and the film slips into a mix of psychodrama and film noir. Somehow this experiment works. Dirk Bogarde is especially effective in the lead role. I had read a great deal about this film over the years and agree that DESPAIR was a departure for Fassbinder, but it is firmly rooted in what I would call Fassbinderian Language.
Super Reviewer
½ August 19, 2013
As Fassbinder's first film in English, this psychedelic drama may have an intriguing story but the direction is heavy-handed and lacks that conviction found in his earlier works. Especially the tone he adopts seems incompatible with the kind of story he wants to tell.
January 17, 2013
"Cinema is just a form of masturbation. Sexual relief for disappointed people. Women write and say, "I let my husband do it because I think it's you lying on top of me"--Dirk Bogarde

I've been wanting to see this for years & it was worth the wait. Great script & exceptional acting by the irresistibly sexy Bogarde. A Fassbinder classic.
½ December 11, 2012
For first-time Fassbinder watchers.
½ July 10, 2012
An odd campy film - with a less than surprising end.
March 8, 2012
it's both bold and beautiful to look at, but suffers from obfuscation -- perhaps becuase it's in English rather than German.
Super Reviewer
June 12, 2011
Personally, I think this is one of Bogarde's finest roles.
December 30, 2010
WHY ISNT THIS AVAILABLE!?
January 23, 2009
nothing to rave about
September 14, 2008
Very peculiar adaptation of Nabokovâ??s novel which you would think is impossible to film. Yet, Fassbinder and Tom Stoppard (who wrote the screenplay) do a compelling job. I mean the whole false doubles idea doesnâ??t work on screen as it does in the novel, but it otherwise seems faithful to the spirit of the novel. Also, I enjoyed the irony that the copy I got had imprinted Serbian sub-titles. That somehow added to it
July 28, 2008
The first 20 minutes are out-of-sight amazing. Hermann Hermann is "so masterful". After that, the movie drags. My friend Gordon told me that its kind of better than the book. Not Nabokov's strongest work, I guess.
March 2, 2008
Something of a failure, I thought, but a very interesting and provoking one.
October 23, 2007
In terms of unstinting emotional cruelty and stylistic baroque Fassbinder seems a promising adapterizer of Nabokov (certainly more apropos then the the coarsely monolithic Kubrick). However, Nabokov's formal gamesmanship is not well transmuted into Fassbinder's emotional gamesmanship and Nabokov's lush, synesthetic lyricism finds no correlative in Fassbinders oppressively claustrophobic mise-en-scene. It also doesn't help that this was one of the giganto mid-70's co-pro's where an international smorgasborg of renowns are forced too stew in the same rippling Pan-Euro broth.

And I think I hate Dirk Bogarde.
September 13, 2007
We have this VHS where I work but my VCR is broken, so every day I look at it and cry a little.
½ June 4, 2007
No one knows this movie, but it's based on a story by Nabokov, a screenplay by Tom Stoppard, directed by Fassbinder (in English!) and stars Dirk Bogarde. It's very strange, very powerful, and filmed such that it's somehow claustrophobic; Fassbinder uses film to model mental illness without resorting to cliche or spectacle.
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