Top positive review
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Thoughtful and strange
on 23 August 2010
I haven't read the novel on which this film is based, but the stories about the length of time it took to make suggests that many in the industry did indeed consider it untranslatable to the screen.
Don't get put off, though, by the non-linear structure, the traumatic emotional heart of the film (Holocaust survival) or its undeniable strangeness - this is original, brave, and often beautiful.
Jeff Goldblum is great, portraying not just a man who is mad, but who uses these manic episodes as a way of dealing with his profound heartache. This chimes with the 1960s idealism of the institute, reflecting the era's infatuation with new developments in psychiatry.
There is a clear resemblance to On Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, but these similarities are, in the end, only incidental.
None of this is to say this film is perfect, but it earns five stars because of its bravery and ambition. Genuinely an original effort.