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The Banishment

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
Not even breathtaking photography and a remarkably precise and poetic approach to mise-en-scène can save Andrey Zvyagintsev’s marathon follow-up to his 2003 Golden Lion-winning ‘The Return’ from being a frustrating, oblique and portentous endurance test. A slow-burning story of a couple who move with their kids to the countryside (Russia, we assume, although it’s shot largely in Moldova) only for marital infidelity and its attendant crises to emerge early on, ‘The Banishment’ offers all too few moments of real and engaging emotional intensity.

The elements are all in place – superb acting (lead actor Konstantin Lavronenko won the best actor prize at Cannes in 2007), masterly camerawork, an ethereal score, ghostly locations – but the problem is that the story never really connects. Still, there are many scenes to enjoy as Zvyagintsev demonstrates an obvious debt to Tarkovsky in the movement of his camera and his desire to stress the thematic over the narrative. But however admirable the film’s sense of an enveloping nightmare may be, it’s impossible not to be put off by a story that’s increasingly confusing and, ultimately, psychologically incomprehensible.
Written by Dave Calhoun

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 15 August 2008
  • Duration:150 mins

Cast and crew

  • Screenwriter:Artyom Melkumian
  • Cast:
    • Konstantin Lavronenko
    • Maria Bonnevie
    • Alexander Baluev
    • Maxin Shibaev
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