A Matter of Life and Death

A Matter of Life and Death ★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

The beginning of this movie showed a lot of promise. The premise was charming and the fantasy elements were set up well. Unfortunately, by the third act the film does everything it can to counteract the charm and ambiguity it sets up in the first act, reducing the entire centerpiece- Peter's court case- to nothing more than a sure hallucination. The court case itself is handled in a bizarre way as well, as the film gets a bit heavy handed and starts drifting this way and that. And then, in the end, we find out none of it really mattered anyway because it was just Peter's hallucination while he was having an operation- this makes the already flimsy love story between him and June seem even less important.

The technical aspects of the film were good. The sets, the cinematography, the whole gimmick with the black and white and technicolor split (I enjoyed the French character breaking the fourth wall) all seemed like they should have been used in a better movie. I just feel like they lost the focus here and the spirit of the whole thing felt too predictable and drab. You can't introduce such fantastic elements and waste them on something as boring as a court case where two guys argue about England and America. The movie felt like an episode of cheap television show...the emotions were distant. I didn't care about the love story at all and barely cared about the characters. I really enjoyed Black Narcissus, which I saw recently, so I know Powell and Pressburger were capable of much more.