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Birth back to product details

An elegant portrait of losing one's mind
written by ozma13 August 21, 2007 - 8:43 AM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
'Birth' is one of the best movies I have ever seen dealing with the idea of a ghost or reincarnation. Really, it is less about these issues than it is of a slow-burn emotional breakdown. The movie is exquisite from a visual and audio standpoint--from the opening scene of snow-blanketed central park to the lingering camera shots of the actors faces to the impeccably appointed interiors of a grand but souless park avenue home. The child actor is just amazing--he absolutely carries the movie and never once slips into over-emoting. His control over the complex role of a child convinced he is the reincarnation of Kidman's character's dead husband is astounding, and he manages to bridge the span of playing a powerfully manipulative persona that is still, ultimately, as Kidman remarks, "just a little boy". Loneliness, imagination, and self-deceit is a potent brew that can alter lives forever. I say see the movie for these reasons I have mentioned alone, and you may just find that you love this well-crafted film in it's entirety like I do.

one of the worst.
written by plarsen July 30, 2007 - 7:44 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Suspense depends on making the viewer care about an outcome, or relate in some way (any way) to the characters. 'Birth' fails on both counts. This film features some of the least understandable, least empathic performances I've ever seen, leaving me want to shake the characters, or maybe shake myself for wasting 100 minutes on this offensively, impenetrably, ridiculous movie.

don't believe the hype
written by cammelltoe July 21, 2006 - 9:44 PM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
i can understand why people laughed this one out of the multiplex: "birth" wears it's artistic pretensions on it's sleeve like some kind of...i don't know...badge of honor. Director Jonathan Glazer was hot after his clever gangster thriller, "sexy beast". DP Harris Savides is Gus Van Sant's usual camera guy, most recently working on "last days". the script is credited to not only glazer but prestige literary adapter Jean-Claude Carriere, famous for working with Bunuel, and Milos Addica, who made a splash with "monster's ball". that's like a resume for ponceiness. to make matters worse, any sense of humor appears to have been left on the cutting room floor.

and, yet, "birth" is one of the most excitingly stylised mainstream movies to be mismarketed in america since "fight club". unbroken steadi-cam meanderings, committed close-ups, sharp colors, daring use of space through editing and deep shadows conspire to create a palpable sense of uneasy dread that brings the heartbreaking gothic romance/ghost story plot into focus. and the performers lend their all to it, especially the three leads. so what if (spoiler ahead) the final twist is a perverse echo of the one shoveled in near the end of "regarding henry"?
whatever--- i think, ultimatly, the film's beauty and it's evocation of longing to feel real love trump it's hubristic tight-assedness. and more people should see it.

Re: Incarnation
written by talltale April 16, 2005 - 4:50 PM PDT
12 out of 13 members found this review helpful
BIRTH is perhaps one of the great comedies of modern times, but unfortunately its director/co-writer was just a little too frightened to go all-out for laughs. OK--I am being ironic here, but I swear Jonathan Glazer (of "Sexy Beast") comes way too close to exactly that. This movie certainly wins the "What Were They Thinking?" award for 2004.

Despite a lovely "Birth" logo, some wonderful photography and music (until the composer decides to ape the "Jaws" theme in all the wrong places--but then again, perhaps this is a comedy?), despite performers like Nicole Kidman, Anne Heche, Peter Stormare, Arliss Howard, Alison Elliott and Danny Huston who give their all and go then that extra step (poor Kidman's apparent over-acting has got to be blamed on Glazer), the movie is so ham-fisted from the outset that it has nowhere to go.

In the first five minutes, we hear a man's voice pooh-poohing reincarnation; then he dies--as a baby is born. Get it? How can you not? So, despite all the would-be mystery, all the "is-the-kid or isn't-the-kid" waffling, the film just sits there, and you start to giggle and snort and finally guffaw. And then, as the end credits roll, you hear the old Patience and Prudence song that wraps it up. And you realize: Omigod... this IS a comedy!


(Average 5.55)
65 Votes
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