Pawlikowski, who doesn’t waste a shot (nor compose one that isn’t a work of art on its lonesome), creates a gripping present tense from the clarity and efficiency of his storytelling: No matter how often he lurches us forward in time, we remain locked into the emotional sphere of his characters.
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It’s a brave thing, to tell a story by omission, but Pawlikowski almost pulls it off.
Pawlikowski understands the mythic, destructive pull such narratives have on us — as audience members and those swept up ourselves.
This is the refined work of an artist at the peak of his powers, and, dare we say it, a masterpiece.
The minute-to-minute detail is absolutely stunning, from the period costumes to the on-set locations, there’s a searing authenticity to the time period that is undeniably absorbing. However, the almost too tightening restraint he gives his film forces us to quickly witness its events rather than be enveloped or moved by them.
Cold War, Pawel Pawlikowski's latest film, is bittersweet and unbearably lovely, a sad ballad of two lovers who can't stand to stay apart but also sometimes can't stand each other either.
The crystalline black-and-white cinematography exalts its moments of intimate grimness and its dreamlike showpieces of theatrical display. It is an elliptical, episodic story of imprisonment and escape, epic in scope.
If talk is cheap and deceptive — maybe even dangerous at times — in Cold War, music certainly is not.
The film is most exhilarating as a breathless vessel for mood, one that just so happens to conduct itself within reconstructed period settings that are as obsessively detailed as the reverently curated soundtrack.
It deftly walks the line between appropriately somber and great, sophisticated fun.