Robinson in Ruins

Film, Documentaries
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
Nature blooms in unlikely places in Robinson in Ruins
Nature blooms in unlikely places in Robinson in Ruins

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
The latest from film essayist and psychogeographer Patrick Keiller follows, after a long delay, his much-liked urban inquiries ‘London’ (1994) and ‘Robinson in Space’ (1997). It unearths a fascinating, fictional, William Cobbett-like rural ride through Oxfordshire and Berkshire undertaken by his unseen alter-ego, Robinson, the jailed, missing-presumed-dead esoteric academic.

Set around Black Monday, the global share crash in January 2008 , this third panel of Keiller’s triptych is as witty, erudite, informed, provocative and stimulating as the first two. But what is new and intriguing is a greater sense of ruefulness, mystery and human limitation. As we tour, say, the ruined Hampton Gay manor house, which looks over the site of the Paddington-Birkenhead Express 1874 rail crash, or visit Harrowdown Hill, the site of biological weapons expert David Kelly’s suicide, Robinson’s presence feels even more like a ghost in the landscape or a voice in the wind as his visions, investigations, invocations, insights and commentaries are pieced together, narrated (in Vanessa Redgrave’s strangely matter-of-fact tones), augmented and contextualised by his dead friend’s unnamed ex-lover from fragmentary notebooks and old film cans left behind by Robinson.

It’s a waterfall of ideas – but the (sometimes numinous) images are calmingly still. Keiller’s canny use of Robinson as an intellectual and artistic license to roam (not to say, sometimes, hyperbolise, pontificate and play) frees him to essay not only a richly imaginative vision of England’s past, present and future, but also a moving elegy to the lonely, wandering spirit of the individual enquirer.

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Details

Release details

Rated:
U
Release date:
Friday November 19 2010
Duration:
105 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Patrick Keiller
Screenwriter:
Patrick Keiller