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Old March 5th, 2012, 11:23 am
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Pearl_Took  Female.gif Pearl_Took is offline
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Join Date: 29th November 2007
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

The White Ribbon (Michael Hanneke, 2009)

Wow. Well, this film certainly more than justified my expectations of it.

The time and place is a German village, just before WW1 breaks out. The film opens with a vicious accident in which the local doctor and his horse are seriously injured as a result of someone stringing a wire between the trees. The anonymous attacks then begin to escalate over the months, becoming increasingly sinister and malicious. We also learn the dark secrets of the villagers ... The only happy and normal characters are the schoolteacher and his shy, sweet young fiancée.

The film is shot in black-and-white, and there is no musical score. Some critics said the pace was ‘glacial’ but I was riveted by the story, my nerves strung in expectation of the next horrible ‘prank’.

A number of characters, including some of the ministers’ children, are presented as having vague and unidentified motives for some of the attacks, but nothing quite adds up. Indeed, there could be several perpetrators, unconnected to each other.

This is an astonishing film: very powerful and deeply disturbing, the stuff of nightmares. Yet probably only about two scenes of explicit cruelty are shown on the screen; we mostly hear about the atrocities rather than see them: this is not a graphic or gratuitous movie. But the sense of unease and all-pervasive, creeping evil was so intense that it haunted me for hours afterwards.

Mild spoiler:

Spoiler: show
Some critics have complained about the lack of plot resolution, but the threads left hanging enhance the film’s immense power. The lack of resolution didn’t hurt Picnic at Hanging Rock, in my opinion, and The White Ribbon is even more disturbing than Picnic.


10/10 for being the most unnerving film I’ve seen for ages. It thoroughly unsettled me and I had to watch something else before going to bed.


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Last edited by Pearl_Took; March 5th, 2012 at 11:34 am.
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