Archipelago (15)

Film

Drama

Archipelago_02.jpg_cmyk.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Mar 1 2011

British director Joanna Hogg’s first film, ‘Unrelated’, was an intimate and sympathetic, but not uncritical, portrait of upper-middle-class folk and their children on a Tuscan holiday, told from the perspective of one of their friends, a woman, who hangs out with teenagers to escape from troubles in the adult world. For her second film, another low-budget work with an air of improvisation to it, Hogg goes back on holiday, but she leaves the sun in Italy and her alter ego at home to portray a fractured family from the inside during a period of discord and dreadful weather. In ‘Archipelago’, the pretty landscapes of Siena give way to the brooding, changing landscapes of a tiny island in the Isles of Scilly.

Patricia (Kate Fahy) and her two children, young adults Edward (Tom Hiddleston) and Cynthia (Lydia Leonard), arrive for a break at a holiday cottage. As rain and wind lash against the windows, Patricia grows exasperated at the absence of her husband, who remains an unheard voice on the phone. Good-natured Edward struggles to hide his angst at where his life is heading and assumes a fatherly role while becoming weirdly familiar with Rose (Amy Lloyd), the family’s hired cook. Cynthia, meanwhile, looms like a dark cloud and snaps and lashes out for no clear reason.

All in all, it’s a very English affair, which is amusing considering that Hogg’s influences are so obviously more broadly European. Characters struggle to say what they mean, or anything at all, and there’s no therapist on hand to lead matters to a neat, inspiring conclusion.Hogg’s second film suggests a director emboldened by her first. She takes risks. Scenes play out in a single take, the camera locked in position, resisting close-ups and giving ‘Archipelago’ an appropriate sense of foreboding and austerity. It also creates space for silences to linger and awkwardness to ferment. There are enough elephants in the room to fill a zoo. If there’s an element of ‘Archipelago’ that doesn’t fully work, it’s the character of a painter (Christopher Baker) who gives the family lessons in his craft. He may remind us of the father’s absence (and absence of warmth, if comments by his kids are accurate) and his musings on art and abstraction may nod to Hogg’s perception of her own work, yet there’s a serene naivety to his delivery that grates and feels condescending when it shouldn’t.

But that’s a quibble. ‘Archipelago’ is a daring new riff on familiar themes. Hogg draws another strong performance from Hiddleston, who plays a very different character from the ballsy recent school leaver in ‘Unrelated’, but again elicits internal screams of horror at his inappropriate relationship with someone outside his gang and over whom he holds
a power he may not perceive. Most of all, ‘Archipelago’ confirms Hogg as a daring and mischievous artist, and a major British talent whose next move will be intriguing.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Mar 4, 2011

Duration:

100 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Joanna Hogg

Screenwriter:

Joanna Hogg

Cast:

Tom Hiddleston, Kate Fahy, Amy Lloyd, Christopher Palmer

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:19
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|126
1 person listening
Peter Charles

Mannered, self-conscious, derivative, lightweight, selfish, self-regarding, thin, inadequate, distant, thoughtless, self-loving. A drip of a movie. Amy Lloyd wonderful. Didn't believe Rose would let the lanky twerp help her with the poppy. My last grain of empathetic attention drained away at this point and I found the remainder laughable despite the gross self-importance of its technique,style and manner. Photography pleasant but self-conscious. The Mum shouting offstage scene was terrible, embarrasingly obvious staging and just wet. No heart, no love, no warmth, no wisdom - I'm talking about the film-making not the family. An awful fim. If you have intelligence and humanity avoid it, because it deals with neither, nor does it possess those qualities.

Peter Charles

Mannered, self-conscious, derivative, lightweight, selfish, self-regarding, thin, inadequate, distant, thoughtless, self-loving. A drip of a movie. Amy Lloyd wonderful. Didn't believe Rose would let the lanky twerp help her with the poppy. My last grain of empathetic attention drained away at this point and I found the remainder laughable despite the gross self-importance of its technique,style and manner. Photography pleasant but self-conscious. The Mum shouting offstage scene was terrible, embarrasingly obvious staging and just wet. No heart, no love, no warmth, no wisdom - I'm talking about the film-making not the family. An awful fim. If you have intelligence and humanity avoid it, because it deals with neither, nor does it possess those qualities.

Sue Alford

I sat and watched this film wondering throughout why i was 'wasting' two hours of my life and yet i felt strangely compelled to keep watching it. It left me with many emotions and questions and senses which i don't normally expereince and i found myself quietly mesmerised by it and i very rarely, if ever, critic films but felt compelled too on this occasion. I was quietly absorbed by it, not really knowing what the storyline was (other than what was on the tv guide), constantly waiting with a degree of 'anxiety' for the big twist/event/death or whatever to happen and of course it doesn't happen. It a film with the most amazing cinematography of the scilly isles (i do want to go there now) and even the weather and lanscape added another dimension of their own to this story. The use of the camera throughout was unique and impressive. The characters were perfect, all slightly dysfucntional except Rose and the artist who i both adored (Rose was very like me in the way she spoke and answered questions - very realistic and a different type of actress to the mother nad daughter. The silences were in a world of their own and were long but fabulous and painfully awkward but perfect. This film and the script/improvised script were gold and would be fantatsic for any drama student to get their hands on - wish i could have studied this when i did drama classes. So to summarise - it is a non-action film and and very slow moving one with nothing big happening and yet it is full of 'gold' in terms of views/scenery, use of camera and angles and teases and then there's the on going micro-dysfunctionality of each of the characters witha few off-screen arguments thrown in. i loved the bit in the empty restaurant where they were deciding where to sit and then cynthias complaint about the food. It is a truely exquisite film.

Sue Alford

I sat and watched this film wondering throughout why i was 'wasting' two hours of my life and yet i felt strangely compelled to keep watching it. It left me with many emotions and questions and senses which i don't normally expereince and i found myself quietly mesmerised by it and i very rarely, if ever, critic films but felt compelled too on this occasion. I was quietly absorbed by it, not really knowing what the storyline was (other than what was on the tv guide), constantly waiting with a degree of 'anxiety' for the big twist/event/death or whatever to happen and of course it doesn't happen. It a film with the most amazing cinematography of the scilly isles (i do want to go there now) and even the weather and lanscape added another dimension of their own to this story. The use of the camera throughout was unique and impressive. The characters were perfect, all slightly dysfucntional except Rose and the artist who i both adored (Rose was very like me in the way she spoke and answered questions - very realistic and a different type of actress to the mother nad daughter. The silences were in a world of their own and were long but fabulous and painfully awkward but perfect. This film and the script/improvised script were gold and would be fantatsic for any drama student to get their hands on - wish i could have studied this when i did drama classes. So to summarise - it is a non-action film and and very slow moving one with nothing big happening and yet it is full of 'gold' in terms of views/scenery, use of camera and angles and teases and then there's the on going micro-dysfunctionality of each of the characters witha few off-screen arguments thrown in. i loved the bit in the empty restaurant where they were deciding where to sit and then cynthias complaint about the food. It is a truely exquisite film.

ivan Peter james wavell

I wish more films in Britain were made in the way this was made, rather similar to the Quartet, Talking To A Stranger, starring Maurice Denham, Judy Dench, Michael Bryant & Margery Mason, also a family at odds with itself. Far from being condescending, I found the Christopher's words extremely moving and full of depth, a quality so rarely found in the present day works of Drama. The was not a note of music nor even available music, and photography was available light, which was so refreshing. The dialogue was so superior to that to be experienced in nearly all televisual Drama of Present times, unlike that in this and War and Peace, with Anthony Hopkins and Alan Dobie which this performance could said to be superb, by any Standards, and as good as the Best that the US Performers have to offer, which latter normally leave the present day British far behind, and much of the Planet. The actors's treatment of the dialogue was as good as any thing I have encountered, and that even includes the very best of the Americans' whose consistency is unique, and makes them the leaders in this ability. The Dramatis Personae were so beautifully well projected to the viewer, and at times it was quite difficult to know whether was an element to the performers input, having been given the script and then changed the wording ad hoc. There seems to me to be nothing I could find to criticise, which is normally my won't. Thus have I ordered the DVD as a consequence. This is how British drama should continue to be, and maybe the Shakespearian Round Theatre has become the fountain out of which a Renaissance in particularly English performance might take the Stage. The people that were represented were not not much Upper Middle, but rather the MIddle Class, which has only beeb taken up by the aspiring. The Upper Middle Class were not so imbued with such profundity.

ivan Peter james wavell

I wish more films in Britain were made in the way this was made, rather similar to the Quartet, Talking To A Stranger, starring Maurice Denham, Judy Dench, Michael Bryant & Margery Mason, also a family at odds with itself. Far from being condescending, I found the Christopher's words extremely moving and full of depth, a quality so rarely found in the present day works of Drama. The was not a note of music nor even available music, and photography was available light, which was so refreshing. The dialogue was so superior to that to be experienced in nearly all televisual Drama of Present times, unlike that in this and War and Peace, with Anthony Hopkins and Alan Dobie which this performance could said to be superb, by any Standards, and as good as the Best that the US Performers have to offer, which latter normally leave the present day British far behind, and much of the Planet. The actors's treatment of the dialogue was as good as any thing I have encountered, and that even includes the very best of the Americans' whose consistency is unique, and makes them the leaders in this ability. The Dramatis Personae were so beautifully well projected to the viewer, and at times it was quite difficult to know whether was an element to the performers input, having been given the script and then changed the wording ad hoc. There seems to me to be nothing I could find to criticise, which is normally my won't. Thus have I ordered the DVD as a consequence. This is how British drama should continue to be, and maybe the Shakespearian Round Theatre has become the fountain out of which a Renaissance in particularly English performance might take the Stage. The people that were represented were not not much Upper Middle, but rather the MIddle Class, which has only beeb taken up by the aspiring. The Upper Middle Class were not so imbued with such profundity.

ivan Peter james wavell

I wish more films in Britain were made in the way this was made, rather similar to the Quartet, Talking To A Stranger, starring Maurice Denham, Judy Dench, Michael Bryant & Margery Mason, also a family at odds with itself. Far from being condescending, I found the Christopher's words extremely moving and full of depth, a quality so rarely found in the present day works of Drama. The was not a note of music nor even available music, and photography was available light, which was so refreshing. The dialogue was so superior to that to be experienced in nearly all televisual Drama of Present times, unlike that in this and War and Peace, with Anthony Hopkins and Alan Dobie which this performance could said to be superb, by any Standards, and as good as the Best that the US Performers have to offer, which latter normally leave the present day British far behind, and much of the Planet. The actors's treatment of the dialogue was as good as any thing I have encountered, and that even includes the very best of the Americans' whose consistency is unique, and makes them the leaders in this ability. The Dramatis Personae were so beautifully well projected to the viewer, and at times it was quite difficult to know whether was an element to the performers input, having been given the script and then changed the wording ad hoc. There seems to me to be nothing I could find to criticise, which is normally my won't. Thus have I ordered the DVD as a consequence. This is how British drama should continue to be, and maybe the Shakespearian Round Theatre has become the fountain out of which a Renaissance in particularly English performance might take the Stage. The people that were represented were not not much Upper Middle, but rather the MIddle Class, which has only beeb taken up by the aspiring. The Upper Middle Class were not so imbued with profundity.

ivan Peter james wavell

I wish more films in Britain were made in the way this was made, rather similar to the Quartet, Talking To A Stranger, starring Maurice Denham, Judy Dench, Michael Bryant & Margery Mason, also a family at odds with itself. Far from being condescending, I found the Christopher's words extremely moving and full of depth, a quality so rarely found in the present day works of Drama. The was not a note of music nor even available music, and photography was available light, which was so refreshing. The dialogue was so superior to that to be experienced in nearly all televisual Drama of Present times, unlike that in this and War and Peace, with Anthony Hopkins and Alan Dobie which this performance could said to be superb, by any Standards, and as good as the Best that the US Performers have to offer, which latter normally leave the present day British far behind, and much of the Planet. The actors's treatment of the dialogue was as good as any thing I have encountered, and that even includes the very best of the Americans' whose consistency is unique, and makes them the leaders in this ability. The Dramatis Personae were so beautifully well projected to the viewer, and at times it was quite difficult to know whether was an element to the performers input, having been given the script and then changed the wording ad hoc. There seems to me to be nothing I could find to criticise, which is normally my won't. Thus have I ordered the DVD as a consequence. This is how British drama should continue to be, and maybe the Shakespearian Round Theatre has become the fountain out of which a Renaissance in particularly English performance might take the Stage. The people that were represented were not not much Upper Middle, but rather the MIddle Class, which has only beeb taken up by the aspiring. The Upper Middle Class were not so imbued with profundity.

Bron Grillo

People who find this film boring are a)not using their imagination and b) probably corrupted by the artificial tricks used in reality TV to create drama. The director uses great subltety in pointing us towards the inner emotions of a family undergoing a shift in its dynamics caused by the imminent departure of the son/brother to a dangerous location for a long period. Cynthia the daughter is the eldest who feels she must organize everything. She wants to give her brother a good send-off but childish emothions overcome her.She is furious with Edward for going off and leaving her to cope with the parental break-up. She is upset by the ending of the childhood closeness and safety and jealous of outsiders and because she is annoyed that her need for mothering is being put aside to console her mother she endw up being the one to upwet her. The mother feels abandoned by her husband and now son but is finding solace in art. Edward himself is too nice and makes things worse for the women by his own difficulty in taking charge of his life and leaving the nest. Rose is a simply masterly portrayal of the changing roles between those who serve us and 'servants'. I loved the way she thoughtfully put away the knives - the tensions were over and the family had adfusted itself. She was not sure what had been going on but she had survived! On to the next job.

Bron Grillo

People who find this film boring are a)not using their imagination and b) probably corrupted by the artificial tricks used in reality TV to create drama. The director uses great subltety in pointing us towards the inner emotions of a family undergoing a shift in its dynamics caused by the imminent departure of the son/brother to a dangerous location for a long period. Cynthia the daughter is the eldest who feels she must organize everything. She wants to give her brother a good send-off but childish emothions overcome her.She is furious with Edward for going off and leaving her to cope with the parental break-up. She is upset by the ending of the childhood closeness and safety and jealous of outsiders and because she is annoyed that her need for mothering is being put aside to console her mother she endw up being the one to upwet her. The mother feels abandoned by her husband and now son but is finding solace in art. Edward himself is too nice and makes things worse for the women by his own difficulty in taking charge of his life and leaving the nest. Rose is a simply masterly portrayal of the changing roles between those who serve us and 'servants'. I loved the way she thoughtfully put away the knives - the tensions were over and the family had adfusted itself. She was not sure what had been going on but she had survived! On to the next job.

ginger1

Beautiful to watch, lovely scenery of Tresco, but incredibly boring,and very upper middle class, so not very interesting to many people. Probably VERY irritating.

ginger1

Beautiful to watch, lovely scenery of Tresco, but incredibly boring,and very upper middle class, so not very interesting to many people. Probably VERY irritating.

Adrian

I really wanted to like this film as I have stayed in Dolphin House on Tresco (where this was filmed) and was on the Island when it was being filmed. And I like slow, arthouse movies! But, like many have said, this was the most boring piece of twaddle I have ever had the misfortune to sit through - and that's about the kindest way I could put it. If I said what I really thought it would be censored. Why they bothered to film it on Tresco is beyond me - they showed so little of the Island. The indoor shots (in Dolphin House) that made up the majority of the film could have been shot anywhere. Give me a decent quality camera and a few mates and I could have made a better movie in a couple of days. I have only given it one star because it's not possible to give it zero!

Adrian

I really wanted to like this film as I have stayed in Dolphin House on Tresco (where this was filmed) and was on the Island when it was being filmed. And I like slow, arthouse movies! But, like many have said, this was the most boring piece of twaddle I have ever had the misfortune to sit through - and that's about the kindest way I could put it. If I said what I really thought it would be censored. Why they bothered to film it on Tresco is beyond me - they showed so little of the Island. The indoor shots (in Dolphin House) that made up the majority of the film could have been shot anywhere. Give me a decent quality camera and a few mates and I could have made a better movie in a couple of days. I have only given it one star because it's not possible to give it zero!

George

A very uninteresting film unless you happen to be rich and miserable. These charcters are not even "middle class" they are obviously very rich and can afford to faff around in angst about their lives in considerable luxury. I thought British films stopped focussing on these relics in the 1950s. The "cookie" character is a particularly odd throwback. It was dull and unreal - like one of those awful Woody Allen movies set in London. A really big disappointment, given the hype the director's chums had managed to create.

George

A very uninteresting film unless you happen to be rich and miserable. These charcters are not even "middle class" they are obviously very rich and can afford to faff around in angst about their lives in considerable luxury. I thought British films stopped focussing on these relics in the 1950s. The "cookie" character is a particularly odd throwback. It was dull and unreal - like one of those awful Woody Allen movies set in London. A really big disappointment, given the hype the director's chums had managed to create.

Ian Gavin

This film really seems to divide people. For my money it's a beautifully observed study of the English middle classes in the finest European auteur/art house tradition. I found it a very refreshing film. I can only imagine that the people describing it as 'drivel' etc would feel the same about Bergman, Tarkovsky, Wenders, Herzog, Tarr, etc etc.

Ian Gavin

This film really seems to divide people. For my money it's a beautifully observed study of the English middle classes in the finest European auteur/art house tradition. I found it a very refreshing film. I can only imagine that the people describing it as 'drivel' etc would feel the same about Bergman, Tarkovsky, Wenders, Herzog, Tarr, etc etc.

Paddy

This film is very artistic, and has a very complex use of themes. I think that as it has no clear plot, this actually allows the themes to be more thorough and real.

Paddy

This film is very artistic, and has a very complex use of themes. I think that as it has no clear plot, this actually allows the themes to be more thorough and real.

David Allan

In response to Phil, I'd say the film is nonsense pretending to be entertainment. The story , if there is one, is uninteresting, the characters dull, the acting banal, the cinemataography poor. As to it being funny, I'd say that the only humourous aspect was the laugh that Joanna Hogg had about the fact that people were actually prepared to hand over good money to watch it. It is a load of utter tosh.

David Allan

In response to Phil, I'd say the film is nonsense pretending to be entertainment. The story , if there is one, is uninteresting, the characters dull, the acting banal, the cinemataography poor. As to it being funny, I'd say that the only humourous aspect was the laugh that Joanna Hogg had about the fact that people were actually prepared to hand over good money to watch it. It is a load of utter tosh.

Phil Ince

Amendment; should have said bores like the Farrelly Brothers or modern Mike Leigh (he made some good stuff 30 years ago).

Phil Ince

Amendment; should have said bores like the Farrelly Brothers or modern Mike Leigh (he made some good stuff 30 years ago).

Phil Ince

I've seen it 3 times now. The first time it was an excrutiating, awkward watch (though much of the audience were getting the humour whilst it went over my head); the second time, the tragedy of the characters came forward; the third time, I was more impressed by the perfect pacing, lighting and photography. If you've not seen it yet, be aware that you may find it an obscure, infuriating comedy but it's really interesting to see how non-plussed and offended so many commentators here are. Again, I'd ask, if you find this film 'pretentious', what do you feel it's 'pretending' to be. It seems to me it has no pretences whatsoever. Go back to DAVID's review on 17th March. He doesn't notice the comic scenes and moments in the film but he draws out its seriousness. This isn't a film by bores like the Farrelly Brothers or Mike Leigh, it's something really interesting, funny/painful and fine.

Phil Ince

I've seen it 3 times now. The first time it was an excrutiating, awkward watch (though much of the audience were getting the humour whilst it went over my head); the second time, the tragedy of the characters came forward; the third time, I was more impressed by the perfect pacing, lighting and photography. If you've not seen it yet, be aware that you may find it an obscure, infuriating comedy but it's really interesting to see how non-plussed and offended so many commentators here are. Again, I'd ask, if you find this film 'pretentious', what do you feel it's 'pretending' to be. It seems to me it has no pretences whatsoever. Go back to DAVID's review on 17th March. He doesn't notice the comic scenes and moments in the film but he draws out its seriousness. This isn't a film by bores like the Farrelly Brothers or Mike Leigh, it's something really interesting, funny/painful and fine.

Maurice

Loved this film. Great acting. The restaurant scene was excruciatingly tense but one of the best scenes I've seen in a film.

Maurice

Loved this film. Great acting. The restaurant scene was excruciatingly tense but one of the best scenes I've seen in a film.

Ms Domestica

It is very curious reading these comments. Why is it necessary to have to choose between liking an Art House Film or a Hollywood movie? They are different things. This film works on its own terms: poetry, miniature and slow, like still-life. It doesn't purport to be an action movie, If you don't think the actors can act go and watch "Edward" as "Loki" in Thor when it's released next week. There'll be plenty of fun and action in that, And I forgot to rate this first time round.

Ms Domestica

It is very curious reading these comments. Why is it necessary to have to choose between liking an Art House Film or a Hollywood movie? They are different things. This film works on its own terms: poetry, miniature and slow, like still-life. It doesn't purport to be an action movie, If you don't think the actors can act go and watch "Edward" as "Loki" in Thor when it's released next week. There'll be plenty of fun and action in that, And I forgot to rate this first time round.

insonya

A rare comedy that doesn't patronise its subjects or the audience. Very funny film about very sad people. You don't need intelligence to watch a film but you do need intelligence to think about it.

insonya

A rare comedy that doesn't patronise its subjects or the audience. Very funny film about very sad people. You don't need intelligence to watch a film but you do need intelligence to think about it.

KateF

The most boring, pretentious, self indulgent film I've ever had the misfortune to see. Avoid at all costs.

KateF

The most boring, pretentious, self indulgent film I've ever had the misfortune to see. Avoid at all costs.

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