Customer Review

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One for dedicated Luis Buñuel fans only, 19 May 2011
This review is from: The Phantom Of Liberty [1974] (DVD)
I've always compared The Phantom of Liberty to Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. Mainly because I've thought of it as a surrealistic comedy sketch film that deals with the absurdity of life.

I was wrong. Sort of. It might technically be a sketch film, but most of the sequences are too long and lacking in humour for large parts, for me to now really think of it as a sketch film. A certain quick fire quality of getting in and out of the sketches is missing. Also there's not much in the way of punchlines to the scenes as the joke is usually in the set up. As random and unconnected as much of it is, it doesn't necessarily feel like a sketch film.

The main problem with the film is the pace. It does try the patience a little. I'd imagine the more casual viewer will be climbing the walls in frustration long before the end. I yawned a few times, and I was certainly fed up with it during the last stretch. And Buñuel was usually someone whose movies didn't dillydally and actually got on with it.

Is the film funny? There are a few laughs in it, but there are long stretches that are barren of jokes (or anything to really hold your attention). The maddening thing about the film is that the good bits are very good. Sadly I doubt those parts edited end to end would last much beyond fifteen minutes.

For example: the sequence set in the storm lashed hotel has a good climax, involving a pervert being publicly flogged by his leather clad mistress. Unfortunately we have to endure about twenty minutes of unfunny, directionless tedium (monks playing cards, a young man trying to have an affair with a much older woman) to get a minute of good stuff. The ratio of bad to good is not in our favour.

It's a weak movie with a few good bits. If you go into it with a positive mind then you might at least get substantial enjoyment out of the better bits. If you go into it with big doubts then I don't think you'll get anything out of it, apart from a few yawns. It's not unwatchable; it's just not exactly a thrill ride. I've seen it many times, and although I've never loved it, I'm mildly surprised at how borderline boring it was.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Mar 2013 18:56:30 GMT
Pseudophe says:
I feel sorry for you, dude. You don't know Bunuel; therefore, it's quite natural that you didn't understand the film. You've missed a great opportunity to enjoy a terrific film. It's not a comedy...
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