Mary Poppins Returns
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
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All Critics (17)
| Top Critics (11)
| Fresh (14)
| Rotten (3)
Ullman isn't particularly interested in the angst of human interaction or the difficulty of knowing truth; she seems fascinated by the pathos of feelings that are all the more intense for being of questionable integrity.
Each sequence is introduced by an intertitle suggesting it will contain an isolated conversation, an archly inaccurate notion that deepens the drama by appearing to deny its complexity.
Ullmann handles the rich material with simplicity and feeling, using snatches of classical music only sparingly and concentrating on the faces of her exemplary cast.
The actors clearly respond, August conveying the turmoil of a woman trapped by circumstances and her own febrile emotions, Sydow a figure of towering moral authority and compassion.
Coming from the master's hand, the result is unique, akin to a deep plunge into a northern lake -- there's a chilling clarity to the experience, a harsh beauty that's softened, yet never redeemed, by unexpected pockets of relative warmth.
The reward for a pace that's sometimes frustratingly slow is in seeing truths and levels of emotion that are rarely captured on screen.
The sight of von Sydow vomiting up a communion wafer is a pretty good indication that age hasn't mellowed the master one whit.
It works, and works beautifully, principally because of an outstanding performance by Ms. August.
Von Sydow is magisterial. His gaunt face and rumbling voice have become, for me, impossible to distinguish from Bergman's own.
Bergman may have withdrawn from film direction, but his presence is deeply felt in Private Confessions.
It's the next best thing to Bergman -- a thoughtful, if slightly long drama enlivened by warm performances and some thoughtful meditations on the subject of adultery.
Private Confessions achieves an enveloping intensity that goes well beyond its occasionally literal and earnest approach.
Although this is technically an Ullmann directed film, it has all the feel of Bergman that goes beyond what he provided in the written script. What we discover is how much of the real Bergman story is portayed in his films.
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