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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Live, as We Dream, Alone
The reviews of this film are for me almost as interesting as the film itself; especially the negative ones, as there seems to be a wish to expose the film as an "emperor's new clothes" phenomenon, and to go beyond subjective criticism of the film itself in order to characterise those who have expressed a positive opinion as either wilfully misleading or bamboozled by the...
Published on 1 Aug 2011 by wabrit

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly mundane, but... sort of compelling
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...
Published 22 months ago by Joseph Coyle


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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Live, as We Dream, Alone, 1 Aug 2011
By 
wabrit (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Archipelago [DVD] (DVD)
The reviews of this film are for me almost as interesting as the film itself; especially the negative ones, as there seems to be a wish to expose the film as an "emperor's new clothes" phenomenon, and to go beyond subjective criticism of the film itself in order to characterise those who have expressed a positive opinion as either wilfully misleading or bamboozled by the desire to appear arty or pretentious. The need to attack holders of a contrary view, and to congratulate each other on having "found out" the film, might say something more about the reviewers themselves than the inherent qualities (or otherwise) of the film.

So (getting off the fence) I really liked this film, and I admire Joanna Hogg for producing an original and thought-provoking chamber piece; setting a contemporary drama (as she did with her previous film Unrelated) amongst the upper middle classes is going to be a red rag to a bull for some, and I think the reviews just go to show that class still plays a fairly large role in the nation's psyche.

As the title suggests, the characters in the film are lost in their own familial and personal archipelago, cast off from each other like the isles of Scilly through their inability to communicate emotionally; money and the benefits of a privileged upbringing are no guarantees to happiness.

That being said, there's no doubt the film is not "fast", nor does it wear its dramatic heart on it's sleeve (but anyone who's sat in hideous embarrassment around a dinner table while a blazing row takes place in the next room will be getting their moneys' worth of angst during this film), and neither does it attempt to show off Tresco as a desirable holiday destination. If you like slow-burning drama, and a British film that isn't afraid to take a road less travelled, then you might like this.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly mundane, but... sort of compelling, 16 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Archipelago [DVD] (DVD)
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Archipelago, 20 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Archipelago [DVD] (DVD)
I love films that are slow paced and give time for thought- but this is too self-consciously slow and seems to have little depth.
Great views of the island though and a beautiful house - but the characters had too little going on to keep you mesmerised.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Straight to charity !, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: Archipelago [DVD] (DVD)
Bought this on the strength of Unrelated which was a superb film, but my was this disappointing .I think ms. Hogg summed it up in the extras on unrelated ,when she said that sometimes having a bigger budget for her next film was a concern .Well I think that this film goes on to prove her own point ,so as I say straight to the charity shop for this dvd ,sorry Joanna .
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Conditional access, 5 Aug 2012
By 
W. Rodick (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Archipelago [DVD] (DVD)
Archipelago is not a wonderful film. It is one of the few films that dares to analyse the middle-class mindset. It is an intriguing portrayal of loneliness. Be prepared to visit a cold climate of angst.

A family holiday is a rented house in a baron landscape. A painter is hired to assist them with their artistic bent. A young female cook supplements her income as their cook/housemaid. Pheasant are killed especially for them. Two lobsters are also caught for 35 without so much as a pause in the sale. We don't see the fisherman hand over the 5 change. Such things are completely unimportant. And taken for granted.

The layers of the film are to be enjoyed. The painter provides 'chaos.' The juxtaposition of art and life is rendered through words and pictures. The telephone in the confined corner is a masterstroke. As are the doors, the pale shades of walls and the missing painting. When the family each in turn say good-bye to the house I see and hear lives as empty as the restaurant they all dined at. Just once.

Only the painter has an unconditional relationship but that is with his creative spirit. The cook is strong enough to step aside. It is the family who have suffered as individuals. Never been loved. Their relationships conditional, disciplined and defined. A change of scene, equally well ordered, is their only form of hope.

Can I recommend this film? It is up to you. I enjoy original filmmaking which keeps me watching, wondering. Thinking after the facts. With time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 8 July 2014
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This review is from: Archipelago [DVD] (DVD)
I liked it vary much could have been longer
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very sharp and accurate portrayal of the appalling upper middle classes!, 3 Jun 2014
This review is from: Archipelago (DVD)
This film is at the same time about the most boring and irritating thing you are ever likely to watch and at the same time is actually very good because that is the whole point. It mainly concentrates on some incredibly boring, useless and incapable members of an upper middle class family who go on holiday together in the Scilly Isles and illustrate perfectly how not to communicate with one another or behave in an obnoxious or pretentious manner. The only sensible member of the family is the father, who (no doubt equally self centred and supercilious) nevertheless doesnt appear at all in the film as he doesn't turn up as he's busy with other things.The depiction of the upper middle class stereotype who probably vote Tory and live in the home counties is so accurate it is completely unnerving. As a cornishman myself I have always felt it would be great if such people were to be permanently banned from my home county and as for Africa-well now wonder they would prefer to try to sort out heir own issues themselves!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Joanna Hogg is a master of observation and portraiture, 30 May 2014
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This review is from: Archipelago [DVD] (DVD)
I am a recent convert to Joanna Hogg and, yes, it was my interest in Tom Hiddleston that led me to her! I have seen "Unrelated", which I enjoyed and "Archipelago" is very much along similar lines. A simple, yet well written and directed portrait of a family holiday. The family in question is about to say goodbye to their son as he is about to embark on an 11 month stint in Africa teaching. The mother and daughter are taking the opportunity to have painting lessons and they are staying in an idyllic cottage in the Scilly Isles. Seemingly awaiting the arrival of the father to complete the family's farewell to their son, they set off doing normal family stuff. A young girl has taken on a job to cook and housekeep for them.

The family are definitely well-to-do. Don't watch this if you can't stand watching films about people you perceive to be in a class you don't like! But the acting is very good; the treatment of the situation and the deterioration in the relations during the holiday is well thought out and I believe there will be more than a few of you that can relate to the cracks that start to show, as well as the very different attitudes within the family unit as to how they should treat their employees.

For those of you who want Gods in green and black leather, or Princes fighting on horseback - do not expect any of that here. It is a sedate perambulation and nothing much actually physically happens. A thinker's film, if you like.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Review, 8 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Archipelago [DVD] (DVD)
The story and plot of the film makes no sense since you can't really figure it out, but the actors are great!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guilty Pleasure, 19 Sep 2011
By 
Shades (Regina, Sk, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Archipelago [DVD] (DVD)
I have to admit I'm not the biggest fan of Joanna Hogg's direction with film. Really, this is a movie that has been taken from a home video camera and played back to people who want to watch a real life story. There is no plot or drama other than that of a typical household. Just walk down the street and observe a family for a while and you will see the same thing.

HOWEVER, I did find it entertaining. The acting is well done. And for any Tom Hiddleston fan you will of course enjoy his performance. I mean, just look at him. :)
I watched it the first time just to watch it, but I found that I wanted to go back again and rewatch it, and I have rewatched it several times so I think that does say something about how it can be compelling.
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Archipelago [DVD]
Archipelago [DVD] by Joanna Hogg (DVD - 2011)
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