Manufactured Landscapes

2007

Manufactured Landscapes

Critics Consensus

Manufactured Landscapes leaves the work of drawing conclusions mostly to the viewer, although the imagery makes director Jennifer Baichwal's arguments well enough on its own.

84%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 61

80%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,175
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Movie Info

Jennifer Baichwal follows the much acclaimed Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky while he travels the globe shooting landscapes transformed through commercial recycling, manufacturing and industrial production. The film not only captures the astonishing transformations in the landscape but also examines the social repercussions of these changes.

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Critic Reviews for Manufactured Landscapes

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (10)

Audience Reviews for Manufactured Landscapes

  • Jan 16, 2012
    A worthy effort and the creation of artificial ugly landscapes is something worth viewing if not quite enjoyable. Baichwal however has a history of taking an interesting topic and adding a layer of dullness in ultimate presentation.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • May 18, 2010
    "Manufactured Landscapes" is a moderately interesting documentary about Edward Burtynsky who specializes in taking photographs of industry and manufacturing in an attempt to warn against the environmental depletion of the planet. The film itself is mainly focused on China which is in the process of transforming itself from an agrarian society to an industrial power. There are consequences to this course of action, especially in the displacement of the population and increased pollution. As urgent as "Manufactured Landscapes" might try to be, there is little here that we have not seen before.(The exception being the shipwreck beach in Bangladesh which itself could have been the setting for an entire documentary.) Yes, that's a truly awesome trackintg shot that opens the movie but it does little to capture the scale of a factory(and I've been in buildings that large, anyway) and actually becomes a game of seeing which workers notice the camera. Likewise, there have been other films that have covered the Three Gorges Dam in greater detail.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 16, 2009
    One of the better documentaries I have seen. It manages to be both socially relevant and provogative, and also very artistic. That seems like quite an accomblishment to me. It did drag on a bit though.
    Jake . Super Reviewer
  • Oct 26, 2007
    Manufactured Landscapes is possibly the dullest, most painfully boring movie I've ever had to endure. This is saying a lot. I've sat through a LOT of awful movies. Hell, I've seen about half of the Friday the 13th flicks, which I'm pretty sure is illegal in most of the civilized world. And this "documentary" trumps them all for sheer self-indulgent, self-important tripe. Normally, if a movie is bad enough, it takes on a certain quality, like that of a train wreck or a dead deer on the side of the road. You watch in awe, disgust, or even pity, as nature and God exact their powers upon something so pitiful. These are thoughts I can get when I have to watch pure horseshit like Pearl Harbor or White Chicks. Manufactured Landscapes goes so far past anything remotely thought provoking that the experience of watching it is like that of being forced to sit and look at white noise, with the volume of the "kssssssssssh" blared on surround sound (actually, I would perfer the "ksssssh" to the actual soundtrack of the movie, which must consist of the same three droning notes endlessly, rumbling along, making my ears hurt). The movie is about the photography of...some guy. Don't remember his name. Not important. Anyways, he has taken a lot of very wide, huge-in-scope pictures about, well, manufactured landscapes. These pictures can possibly evoke thoughts about poverty, about the misuse of industry in China, etc. etc. But what does the documentary say about these events, or even about his photo's? Who the fuck knows. The movie never takes any stance or makes any point. It simply shows. Endlessly. It shows us the sort of places and occurances that happen within the man's photo's, but a) none of these are interesting, b) none of these are original or innovative, and c) they are filmed so ineptly, so exhaustively pedantic, so pedestrian in every level of it's making, that it lulls you completely to sleep. I am not ashamed to say that I fell asleep in this movie. Several times. How many, you may ask? I'd say, roughly, 20. I haven't fallen asleep more than once in maybe, like, 2 movies before. But this movie was so sleep inducingly horrible, that I conked out on more than one occasion in the middle of the photo class this film was shown in. Take the first shot, for instance. It's a one take dolly shot, where the camera slowly moves down and down and down the long corridor of an assembly line factory. No music, dialogue, voice overs, nothing like that is heard. The camera simply dollies along, and along, and along the factory, until blessedly it all ends. How long does this take? Approximately 8 minutes. 8. Freaking. Minutes. It took the director 8 mother fucking minutes to show us something that could've been presented with just as much effectiveness in about, oh, 20 seconds. The arrogancy of this film is simply astounding. And people buy into it. When the film was over, many people in my class actually liked it - or at least, they said they did. "Visually stunning" was a phrase tossed around more than once. You've gotta be kidding me. Nice camera angles doth not a good movie make. Movies, even documentaries, need a point. Some sort of story. Some sort of reason for existing. This film says nothing and does nothing, but takes a shocking amount of time to do this in. I don't ask that all films need to be entertaining. Hell, look at Ingmar Bergman's resume, littered with incredible works of art that are very difficult to sit through and not entertaining in the least. But I do think that if you're going to make someone invest 2 hours of their life, you need to give them something other than pretty pictures to look at (and even this ideal is debatable - I think the photographer was very average). Manufactured Landscapes is the equivalent of looking through a photo portfolio, but instead of being able to flip to the next page when you're done analyzing a photo and have extracted all that can be taken from it, the photographer forces you to stay at that page and keep looking at the one photo for another 10 minutes. It's agonizing. It's painful. It's completely unnecessary. And those adjectives, along with all the others I've been hurling in this review, very accurately describe the experience of this garbage documentary. Do yourself a favour and skip over this movie at all costs. Go out and see documentaries that are just as much a work of art, but can be inspiring, uplifting, important, shocking, thought provoking, heart breaking, and even entertaining. Go out and see Gates of Heaven, or Hoop Dreams, or Deliver Us From Evil. There's so many amazing documentaries out there. Don't make the mistake of sitting through this one.
    GilbertKZ . Super Reviewer

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