The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.