IMDb > Maelstrom (2000) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
Maelström
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Reviews & Ratings for
Maelstrom More at IMDbPro »Maelström (original title)

Write review
Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Page 1 of 3:[1] [2] [3] [Next]
Index 29 reviews in total 

13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A contemporary tale

9/10
Author: krn-2 from Montreal
2 September 2000

I left the theater with a true smile "hooked" on my face. Here is a tale as grave and dark, and yet as lovely, as Grimm's original plots used to be, with however, a very personal imagery and contemporary twist. Fishes being cut in pieces by a fisherman tell this story about a young upper class women's life going from bad to worse. An neutral, almost "silent" camera shows very clean and beautiful takes of desperation and emptiness. Then, as the story turns, with odds only reality itself could invent, witty dialogs and situations light up the tale into a true bliss. The ageless fishes presents it all in a very solemn manner, conterbalancing wonderfully with the superficial and aimless modern world in which the characters live. The whole movie is thoughtful, questioning to the viewer and articulate in its very own way.

Was the above review useful to you?

16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

A dark fairy tale

10/10
Author: moortone from United States
19 August 2006

Maelstrom is a unique blend of happenstance, a touch of magical realism and a cautionary tale wrapped in the stunning cinematography Andre Turpin. Unfortunately when one reads a synopsis of the film the reviewers focus on a brief yet impactive scene that happens at the beginning of the film. The irony is this scene is handled deftly and tastefully by Director Denis Villeneuve. But due to the skewed American sensibilities surrounding sex and violence, a masterful portrayal of daily reality is maligned as shocking and graphic. Frankly I'm more disturbed by images I see on the nightly news and on reality TV. So if you can ignore the synopsis a brilliantly poetic piece of cinema awaits you. This is a well crafted film whose visual elements carry the tale, (a lesson M. Night Shamalyan could have used before engulfing his audience in the endless exposition of Lady In the Water) that is ultimately uplifting.

Was the above review useful to you?

13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A fishy tale

Author: davidbyrne77 from Ottawa
12 February 2004

There are opening scenes to movies, and then there's Maelstrom! Easily one of the most memorable and daring intro's I've seen in recent memory. I was humming that tune for days! The tale is simple, easy to follow, but I won't give it away - the unusual coincidences and twists in this film should be experienced fresh. However, the course of the story brings the viewer various emotions; frustration and disdain at a young woman engaging in questionable activities (not to mention the crime that she goes relatively unpunished for), humour in foreign situations (a heavy car, fisherman versions of justice), and finally happiness (but I won't say how). Oh, yeah, and it's narrated by a fish! Several fishes, I should say. Which gives the film a quirkiness that's refreshing, given the sometimes dark and depressing subject matter. <you twinkle above us, we twinkle below.......>

Was the above review useful to you?

12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

An imaginative tale that really grips you.

8/10
Author: raymond-15 from Australia
14 July 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film opens with an apology to all Norwegians affirming that the film is based on imagination. If you dislike fish, you had best not watch this film for it is decidedly fishy from beginning to end. Indeed even the narration is given by a North Atlantic fish about to have his head lopped off in a fish processing factory. Not a pretty sight (quite ugly in fact) with the fish and the process worker all covered in blood.

I never dreamed that a fish would have a philosophic outlook on life and anxious to deliver prophecies such as "He who kills shall be killed" . Yes this is certainly an imaginative film...rather nightmarish in fact with its scenes of hallucinations and gore. Whatever next, you may ask. Let it be said, this film is never dull.

Misfortune they say never comes singly as Bibiane ( Marie-Josee Croze) soon discovers. In the depths of despair through most of the film, she finally falls in love with the son of the fisherman she accidentally kills. This is a strange turn of events. But then there are many surprises in this film. For example, would you dare ask a stranger at a railway station what you should do if you killed some one accidentally and no one else knew about it? Hardly. But there is an interesting twist to this later in the film. Indeed the film is all twists and turns and convolutions together with lots of fish and fishy smells and water everywhere. But after all this is a story taking place in Norway.

If imagination is a measure of quality, this film is it! Highly commended.

Was the above review useful to you?

8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A contemporary tale

9/10
Author: krn-2 from Montreal
2 September 2000

I left the theater with a true smile "hooked" on my face. Here is a tale as grave and dark, and yet as lovely, as Grimm's original plots used to be, with however, a very personal imagery and contemporary twist. Fishes being cut in pieces by a fisherman tell this story about a young upper class women's life going from bad to worse. An neutral, almost "silent" camera shows very clean and beautiful takes of desperation and emptiness. Then, as the story turns, with odds only reality itself could invent, witty dialogs and situations light up the tale into a true bliss. The ageless fishes presents it all in a very solemn manner, conterbalancing wonderfully with the superficial and aimless modern world in which the characters live. The whole movie is thoughtful, questioning to the viewer and articulate in its very own way.

Was the above review useful to you?

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

3.5 stars

Author: Mike Weston (mweston) from Silicon Valley, CA
7 May 2002

The film opens with a large, visibly injured, and obviously fake fish talking directly to the audience. Nearby a man is cutting up fish. The talking fish says that his life in nearly over, and he would like to tell a "pretty" story with his last breaths. Then we cut to a beautiful woman, in a doctor's office. We soon figure out that she is having an abortion. As we see the fetal matter being incinerated and her leaving the building, the grossly perky song "Good Morning Starshine" begins to play. Okay... This is obviously not going to be your normal film.

The woman is named Bibiane (Marie-Josée Croze), and she turns out to be the main character. Perhaps related to the abortion, it soon becomes clear that her life is not going too well right now. Not long into the film she is removed from her position in the family business, a chain of upscale clothing stores, by her brother (although at first I thought he was her estranged or ex-husband).

Most reviews or plot summaries go into more detail about events that occur in the middle and end of the film, but I'll keep it to that. There are some rather unlikely coincidences along the way, in case that sort of thing bothers you. And there is a distinct water theme, which is not surprising given the title. I would classify the film as primarily a drama, since the laughs are mostly at surprising events rather than strictly funny ones, and because the film kept me feeling slightly uncomfortable throughout.

Marie-Josée Croze is very good here. The cinematography is excellent, with at least one shot that took my breath away. The story and the direction, both by Denis Villeneuve, on the other hand, are somewhat suspect. Besides the aforementioned coincidences, several scenes are juxtaposed in a seemly random manner, and you can't figure them out until later if then. Now this could just be a mechanism to get you to think, and in the wake of Memento (which came out at about the same time as this film) one is becoming used to the idea of the film structure mirroring the main character's thought processes. I'm not sure I completely buy this argument, but I'll give it a little leeway.

This film won the best picture, direction, cinematography, screenplay, and actress awards in Canada at their equivalent of the Academy Awards, but it is only just now getting to the United States, where it is expected to play for a very short time. In the San Jose, CA area it is expected on May 17th.

Seen on 5/5/2002 at the Camera Cinema Club in San Jose, CA.

Was the above review useful to you?

8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A Canadian Gem...

Author: Tacitus-3 from Ont.Canada
21 November 2000

"Maelström" heralds the arrival of a major directorial talent. Denis Villeneuve, who not only directed but also wrote the screenplay, displays a very high level of cinematic maturity. The film itself does not lead to any profound ending but rather peels off layer by layer. It's often unpredictable and at times hilarious. One thing to note is the astonishing camera and lighting work done by young cinematographer André Turpin. If this was a Hollywood production shot by a veteren Cameraman it would scream 'Oscar!, Oscar!' but alas.. Maelström was produced in a country that provides incentives to foreign productions yet does so little in encouraging and supporting homegrown talent.

Was the above review useful to you?

6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Simply put - a beautiful film

10/10
Author: Maxinequaye from Philadelphia, PA
25 January 2001

Reviews or descriptions won't do this film justice. Simply put, it is one of the most beautiful films I've seen. Too often directors forget that film is meant to be a VISUAL medium, and bludgeon their audience with a 10 minute scene of actors blathering at each other. You won't find that here. An intelligent treatment of the human condition, a wry sense of humour, great acting performances, and an excellent visual style make Denis Villeneuve a director to keep track of, and this film a joy to watch.

Was the above review useful to you?

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Hypnotic, good story, but a little slow in places

8/10
Author: wlee08
30 November 2009

This is a somewhat 'arthouse' film with lots of symbolic metaphors intertwined into the story. The story itself is not bad, it is focused around one main character and manages to sustain the interest of the viewer through some clever turns. The filming, the imagery, are extremely well done at times, managing to convey perfectly a sense of isolation/dissociation. The drawbacks are certain extended scenes, romantic interludes that begin to feel a bit slow, a bit quiet. Some scenes could have been put, like the fish in this movie, on the chopping block. Still other scenes seem a little too fabricated/coincidental. Overall, this is a minor success, compelling and dramatic, interesting and original. No earth shattering epiphanies here, but still a solid tale done up in many colours.

Was the above review useful to you?

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

strange

6/10
Author: folkie-imdb from ottawa, ontario
16 November 2000

This is not a movie for the squeamish or for folks who need to understand everything...and frankly, I didn't see the point to one part of it...what the heck was that fish all about? The movie would have been better with no narration, let alone narration from something horrible and divorced from reality.

But there are a lot of great moments. Don't take your date to this one, kids, but if you're in the mood for a look at some somber drama, consider this show. It's different. 6/10.

Was the above review useful to you?


Page 1 of 3:[1] [2] [3] [Next]

Add another review


Related Links

Plot summary Ratings Awards
External reviews Parents Guide Plot keywords
Main details Your user reviews Your vote history