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The Banishment(Изгнание)

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Russia

2008

2h 37m

Director Andrey Zvyagintsev

Starring Konstantin Lavronenko, Aleksandr Baluev, Maria Bonnevie, Dmitri Ulyanov

Genre Drama

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After receiving an unexpected visit from his mysteriously injured brother Mark, Alex decides to take his family back to the country home of his childhood, but once there, Alex's wife Vera confesses that she is pregnant again and that the child is not his. Agony ensues as Alex attempts to figure out how best to react.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

60

The New York Times by Ben Kenigsberg

The first two-thirds are an extraordinary slow burn that provides ample time to admire Mr. Zvyagintsev’s talent with the wide frame. The movie is marred by an unsatisfying resolution, which has a coyness better suited to literature.
40

Time Out by Dave Calhoun

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.
60

Empire by David Parkinson

It feels more like a ciné dissertation designed to showcase Zvyagintsev’s appreciation of the medium than an original piece of cinema.
50

Variety by Jay Weissberg

The undeniably talented helmer’s sophomore feature has little of the emotional power of “The Return,” though d.p. Mikhail Krichman does stellar work and thesping is faultless.
30

The Hollywood Reporter by Kirk Honeycutt

The Banishment (Izgnanie) starts off like a thriller with a car roaring into the city and a clandestine surgery by a man to remove a bullet in his brother's arm. Then, ever so slowly, the movie falls into the clutches of long, solemn stares into space, meaningful drags on cigarettes, cryptic dialogue revealing little and a tiny drama that feels old, tired and empty of real purpose.
90

Time by Mary Corliss

It is truly something to see; for among all the lives to be ruined it is a visual rhapsody, attentive to every nuance in the spectacular land and foliage around the family home, following the lives within as meticulously as it traces the dramatic changes in weather — from clear day to torrential showers — in one of the longest, most intricate and beautiful tracking shots in cinema.
60

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

There is an outstanding film somewhere inside this sprawling mass of ideas, which might have been shaped more exactingly in the edit.

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