Most helpful critical review
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poorly filmed pretension to poetry
on 6 December 2012
This review is about the dvd, as it should be, not about the film on a cinema.
This is an important distinction, especially in this case, because my guess is that the images of this film looked much better on
a cinema screen, considering all the praises about this film. Or maybe the images were as bad on the cinema screen as they are on the dvd. It is just that
the youtube/cameraphones culture lowered standards to a very low level.
The images of this film on dvd are atrociously bad. They are either too washed out or too dark. The images are also too "soft" and focus is, many times, just an approximation...
If all that wasn't enough, there is a constant "blinking" of the images.
Sound is almost as bad as images and you can actually "hear" the microphone.
The story itself is very disappointing. You see, very badly filmed, an old man walking. Then you make an effort to see, considering the horrible quality of images, the guy sleeping, awakening,
having a shower...
It is a life changing experience to see ordinary daily activities of this man who lives alone in Scotland. Well, at least for the critics who are so enthusiastic about
this film. I think the film is just an overestimated and badly filmed "poor cousin" of a "Big Brother" episode. If you want to see a solitary man going about his ordinary life watch
the documentary "Alone in the Wilderness", available on dvd at Amazon US, or the great feature film "Umberto D ", by Vittorio de Sica, which is available on dvd and blu ray at Amazon UK.
The dvd looked really good on the shelf where I first saw it. The dvd has a very nice presentation with a beautiful photo on the cover. It has a booklet with an essay about the film that was originally published in the magazine "Sight and Sound".
I thought it would be a good documentary, something off the beaten track, but the technical quality of the film, at least on dvd, is beyond awful.
To add harm to injury there is nothing so special about the story.
It is disheartening to see such a badly filmed story to be praised to high heaven by magazines such as "Time Out" and "Sight and Sound".
My guess is that this acceptance of horrible images is a youtube/mobile phones effect.
Unless the images were much better on the cinema whilst they are so awful on
the dvd because the images were badly transferred from the original film.
But, reading the booklet, I found out that the director "...also hand-processed the footage in his sink".
Considering that, it is likely that the images were not much better on cinema screens.
Most people have a cameraphone and use it often. They probably find wonderful whatever they filmed with their phones. Besides, people watch videos on youtube and get used to the bad quality of images that is so common on the site.
So, when they see a film where images are of very poor quality like "Two Years At Sea" they don't even notice.