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Monday, February 8, 2010

Cody's Film Review: The White Ribbon

Palm D' or winner and most likely Best Foreign Film Oscar winner is a haunting and beautiful film. It's the story of strange events in a small german village on the brink of WWI. The occurrences take a background to the town folk, which is what makes this film work. All of the characters are fascinating, and it's interesting to know that their way of life is about to be shattered and nothing will be the same with the coming war. This is a 2.5 hour movie and it held my interest throughout, but the viewer is robbed by the absence of an ending. *SPOILER* The strange occurrences are caused by the children of the town, which is no surprise while watching the film. As soon as the school teacher solves the mystery the movie wraps up and is over within minutes. As a viewer everything leads up to this and there is no payoff and you leave the theater without any real closure. I think this really hurts the film and it's what keeps it from being a great film. This is the first Michael Haneke film I have seen, and have heard that open endings and pessimism is his style, which usually annoy me. The White Ribbon is supposed to be his most positive film, and the naturalistic style of his actors makes this film creepy and realistic. Christian Berger's cinematography is beautiful, and has the look of a 60's Bergman film. I was surprised that it was shot in color then digitally altered to B/W. This film has a lot of brutality and tenderness and the characters are what make this film worth seeing. White Ribbon is a mystery that lacks a mystery, and it hurts the film as a whole. 3.5 stars out of 5

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