The White Ribbon (2009)

This film is both a drama/mystery and a metaphor for the destructive powers hidden within human nature.  And if you believe that there’s a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell to you.

I watched this film three times in the last 10 days and I feel confident in my conclusion that it is ___________  (Choose one or more of the following adjectives:  insipid, vapid, banal, uninteresting, boring, tedious, interminable, feckless, aimless…); however, what never ceases to amaze me is the extent to which the “film connoisseurs” will go to  find well-camouflaged meaning in films like this.

Maybe they’re right and there is meaning in this film.  I read several scholarly reviews to help me look behind the camouflage, and I actually get the point.  I just don’t believe it, or I don’t want to.  For example, read Roger Ebert’s review.  It’s filled with opinion, conjecture and speculation.  That doesn’t mean he’s wrong, but he might be.  Even if I believe the meaning ascribed to it, is it really a “great film?”   Is the rule for films like this, “the more tedious the better?”   I hope not.

One comment I read stated that the director might not even care if the viewer understands or enjoys it.  Then why make the film at all?

If the goal is to make a film that might be a mystery with clues that are difficult to find; or that might not be a mystery because it’s really a metaphor for the dark underbelly of human nature; or it might even be both, there must me a way of crafting it so it is more engaging for the viewer.

Like a bad resume, I’d throw this in the circular file and keep looking for one that’s intelligent, engaging and meaningful.


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