Amidst a wild flat meadow encircled by an Edenic lush forest, a couple have cocooned themselves in a secluded mansion that was not so long ago burned to the ground, devotedly restored by the supportive wife. Within this safe environment, the once famous middle-aged poet husband is desirous of creating his magnum opus; however, he seems unable to break out of the persistent creative rut that haunts him. Then, unexpectedly, a knock at the door, the sudden arrival of a cryptic late-night visitor and his intrusive wife will stimulate the writer's stagnant imagination. Little by little, much to the perplexed wife's surprise, the more chaos he lets in their haven, the better for his punctured male ego. In the end, will this incremental mess blemish, irreparably, the couple's inviolable sanctuary?Written by
The music in the first half of the end credits is followed by a long period with only quiet ambient noise. The near-silence is broken when Javier Bardem's character's calligraphy is inscribed in white ink next to (and sometimes over) the remaining credits. See more »
Normally, horror movies traffic in fear of being startled.The feeling is similar to talking with someone who says "I'm going to jump at you" and then keeps up the threats: "you'll be startled, just watch... I'm going to make a loud noise... you'll not know when..."
That's annoying, but not very genuinely frightening, not any more than a champagne bottle in a dark room.
This movie instead confuses, frustrates, and deeply unsettles you. The logic in it is absurd and dreamlike. I've never come as close to having a nightmare while I was awake.
That's not what the average person wants. It's hard to enjoy a movie like that if you think you're smart so you spend time poking holes in absurd logic that is up-front about its absurdity. It's also hard to enjoy if you are in some other way dense or unempathetic. An average person looking for an engaging series of loud noises would be very upset with this movie.
I've not seen anything in theaters as bizarre and upsetting as this. It's very stressful. I hope it makes money. I want more directors to take risks.
Aside from the buzz, I'll say I've never been as moved by a movie. It captures powerlessness perfectly. It is the best movie I have seen.
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