I don't really know what to think of Archipelago, I didn't have any negative feelings towards it, but despite the presence of some positive ones I don't know if I could claim to have 'liked' it. It's one of, if not the least cinematic film I've ever watched. It doesn't so much have a narrative as simply a series of situations in this family's holiday and the mundane conversations, or quite often lack of conversations, they have throughout. What compelled me to watch the whole film was the realism of the interactions, the relatability of the inconsequential dialogue and its regular awkwardness, the time given to an awkward lack of interaction, these aspects made it seem like a fly on the wall documentation of a families experiences and I found it interesting to watch the relationships. Things occured and no-one had changed or achieved anything by the end of it. I imagine it was the equivalent of spending a week rudely watching and listening to some strangers staying at the same holiday resort as you, except one of them is Tom Hiddleston.
And thats it really, I find it hard to work out the benefit of its existence, it didn't affect me, move me, make me laugh, there's little genuine drama, it's just there. Often simple or unenventful stories or situations are elevated in film by interesting cinematography, editing, music or... something, but here, no. Any directorial style that is present is as mundane as the subject (I think it might actually have been directed by a simple robotic system), the camera just sits there doing nothing but acting simply as a tool with which to see this family and their surroundings, again making it seem more like a fly on the wall/documentary experience. There is no soundtrack, or if there was I don't remember it. The editing is as simple as it gets. Reading positive reviews, I get the impression a lot of people are reading far too much into this film than is at all necessary. The opinion seems to be circulating that this film is 'artistic', but, as an artist and a film maker myself, I found the distinct lack of artistry on display a bit irritating. But it seems like people find artistry in every possibly conceivable thing or combination of things in the modern world, and not everyone can find it in the same things or combination of things, so presumably some can find artistry in an absence of things or a combination of things. So just because I don't find artistry in something lacking in noticeable style or substance doesn't mean nobody else will.
This film is a slice of plain white bread, without any butter or anything on it, just literally the bread on its own, it hasn't got the seeds and nuts of wholemeal or granary bread, nor has it any added ingredient that elevates a slice of bread to something of pleasure. Sure, it is competently baked, it's a solid product and if you really think about it you can appreciate the fact that someone has spent some time making it. Certainly if you eat it you will experience flavour and it will provide your body with sustenance, it is food after all. I've known people to like eating plain unaccompanied white bread and I've got no problem with that. The thing is, as a meal it's neither going to fill you up or leave much taste in your mouth or your memory afterwards.
A toaster, some butter and some lemon curd would have really made this film something.