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Rated NR

Drama
Critics around the world have been hailing Russian Ark as a masterpiece of experimental cinema. Perhaps, unlike me, those critics stayed past the intolerably amateurish and embarrassingly pretentious first 30 minutes and found something to like about this so-called "movie." The premise seemed interesting: one single take, with no cuts, as the film moves in real-time through Russia’s Hermitage museum. Sadly, the camera seems to be in the hands of the producer’s mentally diminished nephew. It's probably the worst cinematography I’ve ever seen outside of those hidden-camera gay-porn videos I used to blackmail John Ashcroft. Parts of the frame are frequently blocked out by walls and doorways, the pans are painfully ragged and directionless, and in a comically bad moment, a painting that is being discussed is invisible due to glare that could easily have been avoided if the camera had just moved five freaking feet to the left. All this is accented by a script that is so cute and pretentious it could only have been written by the brain-damaged love-child of Dick Cavett and Hello Kitty. With the advent of digital video, anyone can make a feature-length film, and Russian Ark shows that this is a very bad thing indeed.

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Portland Mercury Single-Shot Theory Russian Ark's Pleasant Pretension by Andrew Wright 02/27/2003

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