White Material details
|Formats:||15 DVD, Blu-ray|
|Starring:||Jean-Claude Brialy, Isabelle Huppert, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Isaach De Bankole, Isaach De Bankolé, William Nadylam, David Gozlan, Christopher Lambert|
|Genres:||Drama, World Cinema|
|Studio:||FUSION MEDIA SALES|
|Run time:||1 hour 40 minutes|
|Rental release:||06 Dec 2010|
By Tom Charity from LOVEFiLM
Claire Denis' latest drama takes her back to Africa, with the haunting White Material.
Most helpful review
Black & WhiteBy obviously (1 review) from New York USA , 15 Feb 2010
[Highly rated reviewer]Denis goes back to the colonial Africa and tells a story of a coffee plantation owned by a white family caught in civil war. Mme. Vial (Isabelle Huppert), a matron of the family is perhaps a clueless, arrogant white woman, as she tries to hire fleeing locals to finish coffee harvest, oblivious to total chaos around her. But we are definitely not watching some helpless puzzle piece in an overwrought, meticulously planned Haneke movie. Vial is not quite the white devil. It's her ingrained sense of entitlement that makes her a curio as she refuses to leave and calling other whites undeserving of the beautiful land. We are in the Denis territory and there are some amazingly blissful sequences- Mme. Vial riding a motorcycle on the dirt road, piles of child soldiers all doped up with pills and junk food spread out in the Vial house...just to name a few. Huppert fits perfectly in the white woman role. Her glaring whiteness is used well against the black continent. Isaach De BankolÃ©'s ChÃ© like rebel leader the Boxer, Michel Subor (The old man with the dogs in L'intrus) and Christopher Lambert as the deceiving husband, Nicolas Duvauchelle as the wacko son round up the elusive supporting cast. White Material is not her most abstract film yet Denis still manages to keep the film absorbing and enigmatic without ever being didactic or boring. It's definitely headier and feels more substantial than her other works. And the sense of freedom I feel when I watch a Denis's film that I like the most is still intact. It's invigorating.
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Huppert shines in near missBy a customer , 14 Apr 2011
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS Show review anywayHideThis film hinges on the palpable sense of foreboding that something awful is coming and when that sense is felt it really works, however a great deal of the film just doesn't feel dangerous enough.
Isabelle Huppert is on typically strong form, her enthralling blend of youthful beauty and aged world weariness is always a joy to behold. Her character (who is refusing to leave her family's coffee plantation on the eve of a guerilla invasion) is well rounded and her motives seem clear, but I felt the rest of the cast was a little inhibited and under developed.
The beautiful photography and sparse, vital dialogue made for a very watchable 100 minutes, but ultimately it's no more than a solid film with some wonderful moments and a slightly unclear conflict on the horizon which doesn't really show its true threat until the conclusion.
No start, plot, or finish...By Koeksuster (3 reviews) , 11 Apr 2011Depressing, pointless, lacked a plot, senseless. One of those tedious movies that neither starts nor finishes anywhere. A montage of scenes all over the place depicting the sadness and tragedy of a war-torn continent. I guess it beats the sickly sweet Hollywoodisation, but at least Blood Diamond had some sort of plot...
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black and white tragedyBy insomniac (93 reviews) from Malvern , 05 Apr 2011
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS Show review anywayHideThis is a dark story, the only relief being provided by the beauty of the African landscape.
The central character is an obsessive, pig-headed white woman who is determined to get in her coffee harvest despite a civil war that is closing in on the local area. She refuses to flee, despite the exhortations of the government and the advice of her family and workers. In the end she is the author of their downfall.
Just as the white Africans are trapped in a situation beyond their control, so the black Africans are equally powerless. This applies even more to the rebel child soldiers who have been brainwashed and traumatised and use drugs to fuel their bloodlust.
The heroine is not portayed sympathetically, even less so her rebellious, sulky son. Neither are the child soldiers, nor the locals who turn against the 'white material'. So while I found the film gripping, I did not get emotionally involved with the characters, and probably this is what made it fall short of some other films on a similar theme.
Not her best...By filmfan52 (13 reviews) from St. Albans , 16 Mar 2011Did not like this film as there was very little humour in it, or colour, just the observation of one woman's determination and stubbornness in the midst of political turmoil. These situations we know have existed in several African countries and indeed are tragic but I personally did not find her character one I sympathised with at all......and though she was obviously trying to show determination, her character and her look were both rather 'monotone'.
A Tragedy - One Of the Worst Films I've SeenBy thejerseygirl (25 reviews) from UK , 06 Mar 2011I am shocked this movie has such high ratings. A sort of classical Greek tragedy format where the lead character walks willingly to their own downfall while everyone is pulling them in the opposite direction. Thoroughly unentertaining. You want to moved by the futility and utter sadness of war and racial striff in Africa then watch 'Hotel Rwanda', or even 'The Last King Of Scotland' - but I advise to give 'White Material' a miss 100%... Bad camera work, baaaaad editing, baaaad screenplay, unexpectedly mediocre direction by the acclaimed Claire Denis. Isabelle Huppert who stars, is very good and well cast (one of the only few goods thing I can say about this film), but her character is isn't likeable enough to save the film. So much is left unsaid (I mean the kinda weird stuff within a story where you would expect to director to elaborate on), that I can't help thinking there must be a different, longer version for European audiences... The film is terribly difficult to follow; making use of flashbacks and other cinematic elements for what I can only imagine is to appear artistic rather than adding to the story. Also there is so so much left unsaid that one feels like the movie was made for some audience with insider information. Besides all this, the movie is exceedingly slowwwwww (even for a French film), horribly morose and just plane boring.