Two Years at Sea (2012)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Ben Rivers renewed his relationship with Jake Williams, a man living in a decrepit house in the Scottish Highlands who had served as the subject of his earlier short film, This Is My Land (2006), in this feature-length exploration of solitude and the present's slow crawl into the future. Situated squarely within what seems to be the perfect environment for his sensibility and temperament, Jake goes about his daily routine across the four seasons in the near-complete absence of any human ties, with Rivers's camera functioning as the lone connection between him and the world beyond his self-imposed isolation. -- (C) Anthology
Art House & International , Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for Two Years at Sea

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (5)

The first feature-length effort by noted experimental filmmaker Ben Rivers demonstrates such mastery of the image that it's worth seeing for the textures alone.

Full Review… | November 20, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The imagery has all the solemn ravishment of Béla Tarr's similarly darkening The Turin Horse with none of the epochal portentousness, while Rivers's work owes more to Billy Bitzer than most gallery art contemporaries.

Full Review… | October 16, 2012
Village Voice
Top Critic

Thoreauvian self-sufficiency or classical pastoral engagement with nature and its creatures takes a back seat to the company of objects, trees and music.

Full Review… | October 11, 2012
New York Times
Top Critic

Moments feel like a profoundly harmonic convergence between man and nature, though mileage will vary from viewer to viewer as to whether this singularly eccentric movie is ultimately illuminating or enervating.

Full Review… | October 9, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

It begs one question: can a man being filmed day and night really be tagged a hermit? But, then, that's our tag, not the film's. Tricky, this film, tricky.

Full Review… | May 3, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

Fascinating study of a self-sufficient man living with nature somewhere in the wilds of the Aberdeenshire forest.

Full Review… | August 13, 2013
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Two Years at Sea


Shot on 16mm film then transferred to 35mm for presentation, the film celebrates all the weaknesses of film stock while rarely displaying its strengths. The long takes of a man living alone and isolated (except for the cameraman and whatever crew accompanied him, of course) are often intriguing, sometimes beautiful, and regularly challenging of the patience. Some will find it rewarding and worthwhile, others won't. I'm on the fence.

Michael Harbour
Michael Harbour

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