Book Of Life details
|Starring:||P. J. Harvey, Martin Donovan|
Book Of Life
|Run time:||1 hour 3 minutes|
|Rental release:||Not currently released|
Most helpful review
Hartley tries something newBy Paul Thompson from King's Lynn , 16 Jan 2007
[Highly rated reviewer]First of all, I find it hard to understand some of the reviews (although the term 'review' is more than some of the comments deserve - if I want to hear people call a film 'sh*t' then I'll listen to some thickos down the pub). Why have you rented this film if you clearly have no interest in it? For others who want a more objective judgment, I'll give some details (which is the whole point of reviewing a film isn't it?)
First of all, I watched this film because I'm a fan of Hal Hartley and his acting emsemble (represented here by Martin Donovan, who plays Jesus). For those of you watching because of PJ Harvey, be aware she has almost no acting to do as such, although a couple of her songs contribute to the soundtrack.
Secondly, the film is just over an hour long and I suspect (there is no bonus material on the DVD to support/disagree with my view) that it was commissioned as part of a larger Millenium 'celebration', and not 'the next Hal Hartley feature film'.
Thirdly, the story has Jesus and Mary Magdalene arriving in New York on 31st Dec 1999, preparing for the Apocalypse. The Devil is also present, and there are two 'human' characters intertwined with the story.
So, knowing all that, is it any good? The answer is: no, not really. The film is shot in an unattractive grainy yet shimmery style, for no particular reason. There is a sub-plot, if one can call it that, which I never understood, and the script mainly centres on dialogue between the Devil and one human character, and the Devil and Jesus.
Rather as Hartley himself has done, watch, take what you can from it, and move on.
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Big disappointmentBy a customer from London , 04 Aug 2009Previous Hal Hartley films we'd see had made us enthusiastic to rent this title, but we were really disappointed. Can't really comment on the plot or the acting which may have been brilliant, the whole thing was just rendered unwatchable by the shaky blurry video-8 style camerawork. The general impression was of something made by a media studies class with a zero budget.
serious version of dogmaBy antfrogboy (6 reviews) from London , 15 May 2009what a lovely, well written, amusingly acted film. I really enjoyed this and dont understand why it's so polarising. it's pretentious (but hal hartley is pretentious and that is part of his charm) and reasonably high brow, but it's not like you need a phd in theology to enjoy it. the criticisms just suggest the people who rented it were looking for the sequel to dude where's my car and clicked the wrong button.
dont get put off by bad reviews. if you enjoy interesting, different and reasonably intelligent film with no CGI give it a try.... and if you vaguely enjoyed dogma, this is similar cheesy theology nonsense but SO much cleverer (although not as funny). it's only an hour long even if you hate it. oh yeah, and polly is great. we love polly,
Doomsday Is ComingBy a customer from Edinburgh , 15 Dec 2008Good script but somewhat confusing plot. Not one of Hal Hartley's best.
Sad for ChristianityBy usadcow (16 reviews) from Barnet , 25 Aug 2008Missed as a comedy. Could have been so much more if they thought about it a little. Confusing for all religions. Maybe they should have contacted the Monty Python team who could have given them some pointers
Persevere with this!By ahorovitz (42 reviews) from Stroud , 23 Jul 2008If you can get past the seasickness-inducing camerawork, where arms dissolve into fuzz as people move and colours blur into each other, this is a fine little pre-millennial moral fable about the dangers of religious fervour, in which the Jesus and the devil stalk New York in the hours running up to the new millennium and decide whether or not they should bring about the apocalypse.
Low key and intelligent, the film seems far shorter than its hour or so - after 10 minutes the camera becomes natural and the blurriness of the film is matched by the blurriness of the morals of the characters.
I loved the way the devil kept on addressing the audience in Brechtian fashion through a microphone - a film as dense and strange as this needs a bit of exposition and this was a fine and funny way to do it.