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Stylish, sensual, and smart, The Duke of Burgundy proves that erotic cinema can have genuine substance.
All Critics (95)
| Top Critics (24)
| Fresh (89)
| Rotten (6)
| DVD (1)
It's a visually rich, tactile film with two beautifully observed, subtle performances at its centre.
[Peter Strickland's] new movie has more going on than cinematic mind games.
There's voyeurism, fetishism, bondage, lingerie and high-flown naughtiness galore, but that's hardly the movie's most conspicuous achievement.
The Duke of Burgundy is no mere style exercise or slavish homage. Strickland finds both humour and pathos in the situation of Cynthia and Evelyn, who are every bit as trapped as the insects they collect and catalogue.
The movie inhales the lost aroma of Ingmar Bergman's Persona and Joseph Losey movies such as The Servant and Accident, and also looks like an agile homage to the arthouse eroticism of Walerian Borowczyk at his most preposterous.
A tiny, tasteful throwback to more innocent times, when actresses with exotic names would strip off their costumes while embracing far-fetched scenarios - and one another.
THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY is like a lucid dream that is simultaneously clear and complex.
Writer and director Peter Strickland certainly had a vision for The Duke of Burgundy, his keen eye towards building tension and holding suspense is successfully put to use here.
As psychologically and emotionally overwhelming as it is eccentric. We come to understand that the repetition is what the characters crave, the solidification and endless proof of their desire and need for one another.
Beautiful, sexy, funny and tragic, with its all-women cast and sole focus on female sexuality it is clear evidence that mainstream cinema's aversion to strong women as the centre of a film is hackneyed, dull, and simply false.
This is a bonkers, inventive, peculiar, perfectly lean and beautiful film by the auteur Peter Strickland. It is probably the most European thing I've ever seen, except for Nymphomaniac.
This is not a movie about the things two lovers do to each other physically, it's about communication and intimacy and power, and how we wield those things for and against each other.
This stimulating, stylish and sensual story of domination and co-dependency is not only technically irreproachable (with those gorgeous visuals, a wonderful score and an outstanding sound design) but is also intelligent and rings truer than most films about love and relationships.
Described in advance as a lesbian S&M spectacle, this will suitably disappoint those who are interested in it for that reason. It is a portrait of a boring, middle class, repressed, repetitive relationship, like the many thousands we like to think of as such in the miles and miles of suburbia around the world. The only difference is that it is dressed up slightly by making the characters lesbian and giving the repetition a vaguely sexual nature. But it could just as easily have been about the washing up or putting out the garbage bins. Undoubtedly that was part of the point of the film, to be ironical, while being artfully put together. But the art is prosaic and the film is just a shallow, middle class indulgence. Its most unattractive feature is its crude exploitation of hundreds of dead animals, in the form of butterflies and other insects formaldehyded and pinned to the wall. One star for the nobility of those creatures, compared with the lack of it in the makers.
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