Jackson Stern’s review published on Letterboxd:
The first time I watched this, I didn’t love it. I appreciated all the brilliant acting, the jaw dropping visuals, the unconventional screenplay, and everything about it. But it just didn’t grip me. I wasn’t insanely interested and found it to be very very slow, too slow even.
I wanted to watch it again because I didn’t want to believe that I didn’t like this film. And I’ve never been so happy to rewatch a film.
Everything about this just hypnotized me for the entire runtime and I couldn’t take my eyes away from the screen. I think I was too young the first time I watched it. There’s so much symbolism buried beneath the exterior, it’s a film that will occupy my mind a lot in the next few days.
It’s a patient film but a fascinating one. It brings up a lot of discussion about a lot of things. Sexual obsession and alcohol dependency are a couple, trust in one’s faith and trust in your fellow man is another. But all of these I’ve mentioned just scratch the surface of what I’ve uncovered on this watch and what I’m sure I’ll uncover in the future.
I found a large focus on following. The camera follows people everywhere (I know that that’s true in every film but something about it feels a lot different, a lot more unique and meaningful in this), not always in tracking shot form but from other angles but still, focus is usually kept on following these characters I noticed. Perhaps it’s who these people actually are trying to catch up after being swept away in a bevy of confusion and misinformation but failing because people run away from the past so so quickly.
I really could write about this film for hours and hours and pages and pages but I don’t want to ramble and bore.
I’m really glad that this film exists and I’m really glad I came around to it. If you didn’t like it much the first time, I implore you to give it another shot (and maybe even another shot after that).
It’s more than a film, it’s an artistic occupation and study of the human brain. It’s one that’s gonna be remembered for centuries, and I’m very sure of that.