Customer Review

71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply riveting, 27 Mar. 2009
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This review is from: Of Time and the City [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
My father wanted to see this, partly because he was born and bred in Liverppol and now lives near Chester, but partly because it has had some excellent reviews in the media. I was happy to go along for the ride.

The film is peppered with poetry and quotations, and they are all appropriate for the footage at that moment, whether you know the lines or not. The narration is rich and the voice has real resonance. The music is varied - rock, ballads, classical - and again, whether it is to your taste or not, it is all appropriate for the footage being shown.

There is humour, there is some bitterness about the difference between the rich and the poor, and there is great sadness for what has been lost forever. In fact, the overwhelming impression is a sense of huge loss in the face of decay. I am not usually one for tears in cinemas, but in the tiny cinema of Theatr Clwyd half of the audience was struggling to dig out tissues, and at one point I was one of them. The sense of vibrancy and hope fading into depression and decay was almost too much to bear.

But there really is humour. One of my favourite jokes is far too rude to repeat here, but the dryness in some cases and the outright vigour in others had the audience laughing as well as crying.

If you are offended by a negative attitude to religion or the monarchy this may be something you will need to bear in mind. But there are no digs at politics or any focus on street violence, both obvious targets to create an impact with an audience.

There is nothing artificial about the ending. There is no false sense of hope for a future which is, if one is being realistic, completely uncertain. There are shots of modern life, people of all ages being both false and natural in different activities, but there are no predictions and there is nothing that lifts the overall sense of loss, occasional anger, and regret.

It is the only film that I have ever attended at which the audience sat motionless, with the theatre lights all fully illuminated, until the very end of the credits. There was a real sense that something remarkable had just happened and that it would be uncivil to stand and leave before the text had trailed away.

My father and I went to a nearby pub afterwards for a meal and spent the entire time talking about the film. Laugh or cry, it is an amazing and never to be missed experience. I have it on pre-order.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Sep 2009 09:05:50 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Sep 2009 09:06:50 BDT
I have been invited to submit a review, but see no point in doing so after reading this comprehensive, balanced and beautifully written review.

I have just one niggle about the film. How could Davies show images of Liverpool for one hour nand never even once (so far as I could see) show Liverpool's magnificent Anglican Cathedral, the fifth largest in the world. He does show the RC cathedral, even though he has lost his faith? Why exclude the Anglican one at the other end of Hope Street?

John Griffith

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2010 16:39:18 BDT
Michael B says:
There is one shot from a plane I think panning over the city from south to north . M . Beautiful film ..

Posted on 15 Apr 2011 01:18:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Apr 2011 01:21:48 BDT
Sandaysanda says:
Brilliant and helpful review.Thank you for taking the trouble to write it.

Posted on 15 Apr 2011 01:20:57 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 15 Apr 2011 01:21:17 BDT]

Posted on 3 May 2012 14:31:14 BDT
P. G. Croft says:
I just bought the DVD, and played it last night---wonderful ! My mother (sadly gone these last 30yrs) was born in Liverpool, and use to regale us when kids, with her amazing memory of Liverpool before WW1, and how REALLY tough life was then. I wish she could have seen this amazing (such a misused word) film. On the single DVD disc and the interviews with Terence Davies, included in this package, I think he makes it plain that his anger is aimed at the Catholic church in particular, and not at religion and the beliefs of religious people persey. Although I was born and spent my earliest years in Birmingham, I can relate very closely with the post war years covered in this film--and the changes that took place, as did in all major industrial cities in the UK--with the same old dreary consequences. As mentioned in the film, why the hell did we make such a mess of it all. Even under Communist rule for 50 yrs, the capital of Poland, Warsaw, which was virtually wiped out by the Nazis, was painstakingly rebuilt brick by brick, so that today, it is a total rebuild of it's 18th century original. Makes you sick to be British.
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