Treasure Island

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 13


Audience Score

User Ratings: 479
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Movie Info

Treasure Island is an astonishing film that both challenges viewers and satiates sensibilities. A psychosexual black comedy about two war strategists set on San Francisco's Treasure Island naval base during World War II, it is part period piece, part experimental narrative, incorporating knowledge and ambition into an insanely original and expertly crafted film. Inspired by an actual counterintelligence ploy by two British officers, the film recreates the event around two American cryptographers, who have a dead body they are going to drop off the coast of Japan before the invasion. To make their body convincing, they plan to write letters to and from him, so the Japanese army will think he is a real person. As they write the letters, they begin to reveal things about their own lives and repressed desires. But the body resents this imposition on his personality and starts invading their lives and memories, bringing them face to face with the horrors of self-awareness. Exploring both the psychology of the individual and the sociology of an era, the film is meticulously designed to capture a time locked in memory and investigate the possibility that perceptions about history and ourselves are inaccurate. Treasure Island employs unconventional storytelling to make the audience actively work to comprehend it while simultaneously reveling in its magnificence and humor. Scott King elicits on-the-mark performances from the entire cast and with this one film, firmly establishes himself as a passionately inventive filmmaker.

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Critic Reviews for Treasure Island

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (9)

  • No matter how bright many of its ideas may be, however, Treasure Island is far from satisfying, as such matters as narrative coherence and dramatic credibility have been treated as annoyances worthy of being ignored.

    Feb 14, 2001

    Todd McCarthy

    Top Critic
  • Climaxing with images shanghaied from Ugetsu and Dr. Strangelove, Treasure Island can be thin and underrealized.

    Jan 1, 2000
  • For all the ideas it tosses around -- and many of them are useful and painful correctives to our rose-colored fantasies -- Treasure Island is too crude a movie to muster much rhetorical clout.

    Jan 1, 2000
  • There is a dreamlike logic at work here, but viewers are expected to put the pieces together themselves.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • An incoherent, interminable mess...

    Jan 13, 2013 | Rating: 0/4 | Full Review…
  • ...all of the bad things that make up what we call 'independent film.'

    Sep 18, 2001 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Treasure Island

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