Reviews

  • Aug 08, 2012

    When deciding on which J.G. Ballard novel to turn into a movie, try not to pick the really experimental one with no plot.

    When deciding on which J.G. Ballard novel to turn into a movie, try not to pick the really experimental one with no plot.

  • Aug 01, 2012

    A gripping, mesmerizing, but ultimately empty adaptation of Ballard's novel of the same name, this film belongs under the "Good Try, Tough Material" category. While beautifully photographed and extensively plotted, it seems that in trying to faithfully, dutifully recreate Ballard's trite prose the film makers sacrificed the emotional resonance of it all. One of the biggest flaws -- and what may have been entirely unavoidable -- is that in presenting this book as a film it substantially degrades Ballard's internalization of the media, as film is media, so the viewer is left with harrowing imagery for most of the movie but little else; whereas in Ballard's book, a few words on a piece of paper engage the reader's imagination; in short, the film is the interpretation of someone else, whereas in reading the book the interpretation is entirely his/her own. I would still recommend this film to Ballard fans, as it by far is the most faithful adaptation of any of his books, so far. Jonathan Weiss is to be commended for his attempt here, as I doubt many other directors could have done a better job with such difficult source material.

    A gripping, mesmerizing, but ultimately empty adaptation of Ballard's novel of the same name, this film belongs under the "Good Try, Tough Material" category. While beautifully photographed and extensively plotted, it seems that in trying to faithfully, dutifully recreate Ballard's trite prose the film makers sacrificed the emotional resonance of it all. One of the biggest flaws -- and what may have been entirely unavoidable -- is that in presenting this book as a film it substantially degrades Ballard's internalization of the media, as film is media, so the viewer is left with harrowing imagery for most of the movie but little else; whereas in Ballard's book, a few words on a piece of paper engage the reader's imagination; in short, the film is the interpretation of someone else, whereas in reading the book the interpretation is entirely his/her own. I would still recommend this film to Ballard fans, as it by far is the most faithful adaptation of any of his books, so far. Jonathan Weiss is to be commended for his attempt here, as I doubt many other directors could have done a better job with such difficult source material.

  • Dec 12, 2011

    really strange stuff...tried a little too hard to be cerebral. Overall an enjoyable and trippy experience.

    really strange stuff...tried a little too hard to be cerebral. Overall an enjoyable and trippy experience.

  • Mar 21, 2010

    Not entirely successful in adapting the very non-narrative book, but what film of this could be? About as close as you could get, however. I would advise reading the book beforehand and looking at this as a very full supplement. Definitely worth watching, in any event. Not for those who are easily disturbed(more for its general tone; the title is actually a reference to Ballard's metaphor for life itself, not an indication of gore or anything) or averse to experimental film.

    Not entirely successful in adapting the very non-narrative book, but what film of this could be? About as close as you could get, however. I would advise reading the book beforehand and looking at this as a very full supplement. Definitely worth watching, in any event. Not for those who are easily disturbed(more for its general tone; the title is actually a reference to Ballard's metaphor for life itself, not an indication of gore or anything) or averse to experimental film.

  • Mar 05, 2010

    This was odd. Really, really odd. It felt as though Jonathan Weiss was trying to redefine the way films are made. He took a more artisitic stance. Obviously, this meant that the plot was useless. I just didn't get it. I tried to over analyse everything (which felt like what the film intended you to do). However, I think this is why I didn't like it. It just did not make sense to me. Odd.

    This was odd. Really, really odd. It felt as though Jonathan Weiss was trying to redefine the way films are made. He took a more artisitic stance. Obviously, this meant that the plot was useless. I just didn't get it. I tried to over analyse everything (which felt like what the film intended you to do). However, I think this is why I didn't like it. It just did not make sense to me. Odd.

  • Feb 08, 2010

    Found this from a film blog mentioning it after all these years..Pretensious but the unknown lead acterss is cute..Not the worst 100 minutes spent.But don't watch tired

    Found this from a film blog mentioning it after all these years..Pretensious but the unknown lead acterss is cute..Not the worst 100 minutes spent.But don't watch tired

  • Dec 05, 2007

    Weird experimental film based on a weird experimental book. Like a mix between literature and surgery without anesthesia.

    Weird experimental film based on a weird experimental book. Like a mix between literature and surgery without anesthesia.

  • Nov 07, 2007

    the citizen kane of the 21st century. absolute masterpiece. perfect interpretation of one the many narratives of the book. totally mind blowing.

    the citizen kane of the 21st century. absolute masterpiece. perfect interpretation of one the many narratives of the book. totally mind blowing.

  • Nov 04, 2007

    Let me begin by saying something about the book. I first read it when I was about 15 back in the mid 90s and have since read it roughly five times more. To say it opened my eyes as to what experimental fiction can do is an understatement; this one ripped them apart with rusty hooks. It's one of the most impenetrable and obscure pieces of writing I've ever come across, perhaps even more so than the notorious Ulysses but this isn't merely excessive masturbatory word play. Its structure is a cut and paste affair, somewhat akin to flicking through images on a crap television. Before it has time to fully develop a moment it moves onto the next; medical texts; JFK's assassination; Marilyn Monroe; drugs; sex... the themes of a modern world cannibalising, destructing and recreating itself made my mind bleed and still astounds me today. It sounds overblown when I call it a life changing novel but this really did that. Like Ballard's other novels it's not the kind of fluff to casually read on the bus to work, it demands your attention but once you're in its relentless world it won't leave you. The film, like the book, is a cracked mirror up to our faces. It's a gut punch that makes you feel alive, that makes you read between the lines, that urges you to look closer. All that from something that many thought unfilmable. The media's icons, its events and itself inadvertently invade, fragment and nurture the the private mind of the individual. The T character (Travers, Talbert etc) is a doctor in a mental hospital suffering from a mental breakdown of his own. He tries to understand iconic media events such as Marilyn Monroe's suicide, the Space Race and the assassination of JFK by restaging them in absurd, bonding, personal ways in either his mind or in real life. From here the humanity begins to show itself; the space between two walls, the automobile crash as a fertilising event, the confusion between architecture and the human body, science and pornography etc. Weiss has captured this 'atrocity exhibition' and its ambiguity very well through the use of collage, both visually and aurally. His use of stock footage ranging from war atrocities, plastic surgery, pornography, Zapruder footage is disturbing but enlightening in the piece's quest to look for meaning and the startling sound design and music enforces this. At times it sounds very much like an ambient album where small and trivial noises are blown up to gigantic proportions. 'The Atrocity Exhibition' not only faithfully captures the spirit of J.G. Ballard's experimental novel but it also makes original and imaginative points on top of that. J.G. Ballard is a genius and Jonathan Weiss has replicated that genius in an audio-visual experience of extraordinary power. One of the ten greatest films ever made.

    Let me begin by saying something about the book. I first read it when I was about 15 back in the mid 90s and have since read it roughly five times more. To say it opened my eyes as to what experimental fiction can do is an understatement; this one ripped them apart with rusty hooks. It's one of the most impenetrable and obscure pieces of writing I've ever come across, perhaps even more so than the notorious Ulysses but this isn't merely excessive masturbatory word play. Its structure is a cut and paste affair, somewhat akin to flicking through images on a crap television. Before it has time to fully develop a moment it moves onto the next; medical texts; JFK's assassination; Marilyn Monroe; drugs; sex... the themes of a modern world cannibalising, destructing and recreating itself made my mind bleed and still astounds me today. It sounds overblown when I call it a life changing novel but this really did that. Like Ballard's other novels it's not the kind of fluff to casually read on the bus to work, it demands your attention but once you're in its relentless world it won't leave you. The film, like the book, is a cracked mirror up to our faces. It's a gut punch that makes you feel alive, that makes you read between the lines, that urges you to look closer. All that from something that many thought unfilmable. The media's icons, its events and itself inadvertently invade, fragment and nurture the the private mind of the individual. The T character (Travers, Talbert etc) is a doctor in a mental hospital suffering from a mental breakdown of his own. He tries to understand iconic media events such as Marilyn Monroe's suicide, the Space Race and the assassination of JFK by restaging them in absurd, bonding, personal ways in either his mind or in real life. From here the humanity begins to show itself; the space between two walls, the automobile crash as a fertilising event, the confusion between architecture and the human body, science and pornography etc. Weiss has captured this 'atrocity exhibition' and its ambiguity very well through the use of collage, both visually and aurally. His use of stock footage ranging from war atrocities, plastic surgery, pornography, Zapruder footage is disturbing but enlightening in the piece's quest to look for meaning and the startling sound design and music enforces this. At times it sounds very much like an ambient album where small and trivial noises are blown up to gigantic proportions. 'The Atrocity Exhibition' not only faithfully captures the spirit of J.G. Ballard's experimental novel but it also makes original and imaginative points on top of that. J.G. Ballard is a genius and Jonathan Weiss has replicated that genius in an audio-visual experience of extraordinary power. One of the ten greatest films ever made.