Chained

Critics Consensus

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94%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 16

71%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 585
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Movie Info

An art student (Walter Slezak) is accused of causing the death of the renowned painter (Benjamin Christensen) who secretly loved him.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Michael

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Michael

  • Mar 10, 2012
    Wonderful early-period Dreyer film that has something of the great stoicism of his last, Gertrude. That is especially apparent in the figure of the master painter Zoret (an excellent performance by Benjamin Christensen) who is fighting with great patience against the circumstances and the personality of Michael in order to achieve this 'true, perfect love' he believes in, that consists in unconditionally giving everything to its object (some kind of irrational Kierkegaardian 'leap of of faith' in terms of love). The visual aspect of the film is really good, with excellent and unusual lighting for its time (like having a lonely figure in the foreground unlighted while the background is bathed in light) that sometimes drowns every corner of the richly decorated house in darkness. There are two triangles in the film, the second being always in the distant background but helps enriching the tapestry of the high society of the age. An amazing scene involves the two mutually attracted people one of which -the woman- is married, while they pass, in front of her husband, to each other a sculpture of a naked woman, which symbolically becomes the medium of their suppressed mutual desire. The desire becomes apparent to the viewer through a close up that shows how their fingers touch the sculpture (this is a purely and truly cinematic effect that literature cannot achieve). There are some tracking shots even which is a rarity in silent films, like the one following one of the couples in the countryside (one of the few shots outside the stuffed house). Of course, the pinnacle of Dreyer's silent period remains The Passion of Joan of Ark, but this is also a film that deserves attention -even if it is not quite as great- for its wonderful performances, the ecxellent mood and the to-the-point symbolisms as well as its inventiveness in character presentation (such as the dinner scene in the beginning in which we learn each character's personality by his attitude to the concept of death) and beautiful visuals. Recommended.
    George M Super Reviewer

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