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The acting is zombie-esque but that is Carl Theodor Dreyer's style which involves an unhappy housewife, opera singer, Gertud Kanning (Nina Pens Rode) leaving her husband, Gustav Kenning (Bendt Rothe) just when he announces his promotion to become a cabinet minister She leaves him for someone younger, who is a pianist and struggling composer, Erland(Baard Owe). Viewers get to understand why she has problems with highly successful men as the movie progresses, once she reunites with an old fling. Co-written and directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer. which is also his final film.
Although seen by some as being slow, still and sombre, I feel it is also beautiful in its own way. It offers one of the most stunning cinematography in black and white (there's something with Dreyer, and also Bergman's films and Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev, where the cinematography looks just sharp and pretty in black and white). The story is very melancholic yet poignant, you feel for Gertrud's character (played brilliantly yet subtly by Nina Pens Rode) as she goes through isolation and doubt when it comes to who she loves. But what really impressed me is how expertly done were the long takes and its rather poignant ending, which seems like a great way to end Dreyer's filmography. Gertrud is perhaps my favourite Dreyer film, although Ordet, Day of Wrath and Passion of Joan of Arc I also value as being masterpieces as well.
This film is a masterpiece in my opinion, and is the last film of the great Carl Theodor Dreyer, who directed one of my top ten films of all-time, "The Passion of Joan of Arc." This film is based on a play, and you can sense that as it is dialogue heavy, and often only two characters onscreen at a time. The story follows Getrud who is leaving a loveless marriage to pursue a relationship with her lover with whom she is in live with. Her husband has let her down and not lived up to her high standards of what she feels love should be, but her lover then in turn also lets her down, and she decides to isolate herself afterwards. The films has several themes are work, dealing with love, isolation, and people's expectations of what their life should be. The direction is excellent in my opinion, the film looks great, and even though there isn't a lot of action, and there are many static shots, the viewer is kept engaged. Nina Pens Rode is excellent in the lead role, and really anchors the film. I have a strong suspicion I will revisit this film more than once, and will discover new things with each progressive viewing. Highly recommended for serious films fans!
Looks like a poetry, truly poetic film examining the questions of love between men and women, searching an answer within woman's soul. Ascetisism in the picture of the film is fascinating. Great film of a great director.
Another great Dreyer film. A woman who is searching for love but can not find it is a classic modern tragedy in the hands of a master of cinema.
This is the final film of Carl Th. Dreyer, who is a phenomenal filmmaker. I have to admit I have VERY mixed feelings about this film. It all stems from my personal feelings towards the title character. She's a woman who leaves her ambitious politician husband for a younger musician, all the while philosophizing her ideals about love. She wants a man who will love her first and foremost, above all else as much as she loves him. The character comes off as being a cold bitch sometimes and sometimes a sad lonely sympathetic character. Her characterization can alternately be construed as feminist and misogynist. Perhaps that was deliberate. But it is frustrating. It's a film that I admire more than I love. All in all, I strongly....MUCH strongly prefer "Ordet" when it comes to late Dreyer.
<i>"1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."</i>
- 1 Corinthians 13: 1-7
With <i>Ordet</i>, Dreyer's trademark stunts of contemplative and minimalist melodramas had been born. The tracking shots and the free nature of the dialogues, flowing as intrepid rivers, allowed for the characters to be fully dissected, and for the movie to feel like a complete essay on the human condition. It is true that most of these essays circled around religious topics, but the core of his analysis was never religion, but human frailty.
Mirroring the isolation of Joan of Arc, and with the auteur's famous long shots and intentionally exaggerated theatricality, Gertrud is a woman seeking for answers regarding the meaning of love in men that clearly never had the capacity to understand such deep term, not the willingness to commit to it. Each man, regardless of the age, is pursuing his own interests, placing love in a secondary realm, until, of course, they realize the importance of love once that it is lost. But it is too late, because the heart of a woman is not a tennis ball, going back and forth within the same perimeter. The heart of a woman here seems to progress and adapt, and the heart of the man is insatiable, but deviated in the establishment of its priorities. Men are portrayed as opportunistic and manipulative, pretending to be the victims at the same time. However, Gertrud is not meant to be a generalization. She is a woman looking for answers in the wrong places, with the wrong people, and the fact that one of the film's focus is the futile banalities and mannerisms of an aristocracy that gives an improper place to feelings, it seems that there is no hope left for Gertrud. She is a woman who made the mistake of trying to understand love as long as this explanation was provided by others. She claimed to have known love, but she truly never did, because love is an everlasting thing.
And the film ends with a remarkable conclusion: Love is everything that matters. With this epiphany, Gertrud reaches a level that was impossible for her to find in others, because she was forced to put her feelings above everybody else's.
All of these interesting topics are, unfortunately, undermined by theatrical performances that border on utter boredom and lack of interest, like dead souls uttering words for the sake of sounding poetic and smart. The whole wonderful dialogue is almost assassinated by Dreyer's apparent lack of understanding of the dialogue he is handling. However, that is not true. He has a whole filmography that proves otherwise, and therefore the justification of the word "apparent". This is the point in which Bergman's oeuvre can be used as a proper point of reference. 75% of his films, especially since the 70s, carried a certain degree of theatricality, but the intensity of the performances and the melodramatic degrees differed in each story; most of the times, both were good compliments. Not in this case. Such internal struggle is almost killed by the lack of passion provided by the cast, resulting in a rating's penalization of close to 20 full points over 100.
Being the master's last film, it is somewhat of a disappointment, because considering his past efforts, this had a great potential to become another masterpiece. It is still, however, a worthy farewell.
Trapped in a loveless marriage, a singer leaves her husband for a younger lover. But when he refuses to run away with her, she runs away to paris to live out the rest of days alone.
Long and boring with uninteresting characters, the one thing that really bugs me about this film was the selfish nature of Gertrud. She only wanted the men all to herself, but wasn't willing to give herself fully to them.
reminded me of Bergman but not really in the same league.