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6 reviews in total 
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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Packs a punch for 90 minutes, and Roth is brilliant., 24 February 2004

Tim Roth has this creepy quality about him that somehow makes him irresistible in this film. He plays a wealthy playboy who appears to be emotionally inpenetrable. This is a man who knows how to dress impeccably, but eats cake off another's plate with his hands--because he can. This is a man whose victories at duels number 29 because of the number of men's wives he has seduced. Tim Roth is brilliant in communicating his arrogance and boredom through his eyes, his posture, and his gait.

But he is a multi-dimensional character, and his affection for his sister and nephews is unquestionable. It is this affection for his family that makes his seduction of Theresa believable as love--otherwise, I would have interpreted it as only another conquest. His behavior at a duel at the film's opening also tells us he has a conscience.

But credit does not stop at Tim Roth's performance. Firth is impressive as a kindly looking gentleman, an open friend and passionate husband, who we learn is capable of the coldest revenge. I recommend this movie; it's not as predictable as the beginning leads you to think, and is well-made.

11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Packs a punch for 90 minutes, and Roth is brilliant., 24 February 2004

Tim Roth has this creepy quality about him that somehow makes him irresistible in this film. He plays a wealthy playboy who appears to be emotionally impenetrable. This is a man who knows how to dress impeccably, but eats cake off another's plate with his hands--because he can. This is a man whose victories at duels number 29 because of the number of men's wives he has seduced. Tim Roth is brilliant in communicating his arrogance and boredom through his eyes, his posture, and his gait.

But he is a multi-dimensional character, and his affection for his sister and nephews is unquestionable. It is this affection for his family that makes his seduction of Theresa believable as love--otherwise, I would have interpreted it as only another conquest. His behavior at a duel at the film's opening also tells us he has a conscience.

But credit does not stop at Tim Roth's performance. Firth is impressive as a kindly looking gentleman, an open friend and passionate husband, who we learn is capable of the coldest revenge. I recommend this movie; it's not as predictable as the beginning leads you to think, and is well-made.

255 out of 274 people found the following review useful:
Wow, I never *felt* a movie before, 10 November 2003

One of my old English teachers once asked us about a book, "Did you all like the book? I'm not asking whether you enjoyed it; I don't care. I want to know if you liked it." She was making an important distinction.

I remembered that as I watched Punch-Drunk Love. It's very unusual. The film is set in L.A., but you don't see much scenery indicating that. You see unpleasant things. Adam Sandler's office is long and empty: just seeing him sitting at his desk assaults you with a feeling of loneliness (not because of any sappy music--but because of the set and the camera work). He walks out into a never-ending warehouse; it feels empty, brutal. He exits the warehouse and you see another unending sight: the row of garage-like doors of all the other warehouses. It feels like it lasts forever, this row of doors, and when Adam gets to the end of it, he looks out onto a long, straight, industrial, empty street. It looks HORRIBLE, but why? Nothing is happening on the street, there are no gruesome sights, no particular signs of squalor or anything, and yet you feel repulsed, hopeless, alone. Then, out of the distance, a car whizzes by, nothing unusual, but it feels abrasive. With no relation at all to the plot, just as it appears, this car hits something and explodes, its remains slide off into the distance and you see nothing more of it. It's trivial. But you feel like the movie is being hostile toward YOU, the viewer.

Yes, that's the best way I can put it: you feel like the movie is being hostile toward YOU. A few minutes later, a truck flies by, again very abrasively, and drops a harmonium in front of Adam Sandler. There is no rhyme or reason to this, it just happens, and it's all very unpleasant.

About a third of the way through the video, my phone rang. I told my friend what I was watching, and she asked how it was. I told her, "I can't decide. I'm not sure I like it." I kept watching. At the end, I understood. What I had meant to tell my friend was that I wasn't enjoying it. And I wasn't meant to.

The film starts out with a very bad point in Adam Sandler's life. He is neurotic, you want to kill his sisters even though they're not malicious per se, he is lonely, his life is unpleasant. This movie is trying to do more than TELL you it's unpleasant, and even more than SHOW you it's unpleasant: the movie is trying to get inside you and make you FEEL it. You seriously feel the abrasiveness of every image, every sound, every character; you feel accosted by it. When there's silence, it's brutal silence. When there are sounds, they're brutal sounds. Images and movements are abrasive. Until Adam's life begins to flourish: then you get pretty sounds, pretty colors--as the viewer, you're let off the hook, too.

So when it was over, I was in amazement. How many movies succeed at this, at taking you WITH them to the discomfort the character is living? The cinematography, the sound work, the script--none of it is any accident. When his life isn't going well, you FEEL it. Did I like the movie? Very much. And if you appreciate a very unusual take on an old topic, you will too.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A poignant lesson in love and devotion, 9 July 2003

It has been years since I saw this film at the San Francisco Foreign Film Festival. It really leaves an impression; I highly recommend it. The plot spans years before and during the Holocaust. Through the eyes of his young nephew, we watch the plight of an initially successful Jewish doctor ("Uncle Ernst") living in Germany. While Ernst's plight is central to the story, it is mostly Martha, his housekeeper-become-wife, who draws you in--at least that's the impression I have after all these years. After the film, the face of this kindly, well-meaning woman haunted me for some time, and I can even picture it now: radiating joy during the warmer moments of the film, and piercing the viewer's own heart with sorrow at other moments.

Many films that take place during the Holocaust are somewhat predictable. That said, this one is rich and unique enough in plot that it stands out in my memory, but mostly thanks to the acting and poignancy of the story. I think the film's biggest strength is the attachment you form to Martha, an extremely sympathetic character whose devotion to her husband is so sincere, so touching, that it seems to erase all barriers for the human heart.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A great and refreshing comedy in many aspects, 2 March 1999

This film is typical of films made outside of mainstream Hollywood studios; it takes some old themes and treats them with an attention-grabbing freshness. Playing Loli, a young housewife living in the south of France, Victoria Abril is as delightful as a spring breeze in Provence. Her husband is an incorrigible infidel; we've seen many of those in films. However, when the masculine Marijo, played poignantly by Josiane Balasko, enters their lives, the story takes many unexpected and entertaining turns which render a fairly common theme completely unpredictable. Everyone to whom I recommend this film ends up watching it numerous times and recommending it to others. The soundtrack is now one of my most-played CD's.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
One of the few good comedies of this decade, 20 November 1998

What a marvelous and multi-faceted film! Accurately but humorously portrays Communist Russia's class struggle and communal life. Juxtaposes an educated musician against blue-collar "bloodsucking" neighbors, as well as bleak Leningrad against the colorful splendors of Paris. A wonderful metaphor for the utopia many dream of finding: our chances of reaching it are limited, and when the opportunity presents itself, some throw themselves fearlessly into it, others hesitate until it is too late, while still others fail to recognize that they're already there. One of the few films that can be viewed hundreds of times and never grow old.