Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. 100
    What's truly extraordinary about this movie--which strikes me on two viewings as Maddin's masterpiece--is that it not only plays like a dream but feels like one.
  2. It's said to be an autobiography, but that pertains only in the loosest sense. It's a comedy. It's a 1920s silent movie. It is practically indescribable. And it is pure genius.
  3. There's a new visual idea every second, each teeming with energy, pitch-dark comedy, and inspired cinematic lunacy.
  4. 80
    Abortion, incest, infidelity, revenge, and hockey collide at a fever pitch, juxtaposed with such frantic energy that they're pushed to the level of high comedy, funniest at its most dramatic.
  5. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    80
    Ultimately, psychotically inventive pic is a formidable addition to the ever-evolving Maddin oeuvre.
  6. There is also something rather splendid about this extended-play peep show, as if Mr. Maddin had stumbled across a hitherto lost archive of cinema's less-than-innocent past. What makes all this nostalgia for a movie history that never happened is that, as is always the case with Mr. Maddin's work, it's executed with more love than irony and not a whit of derision.
  7. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    70
    Oddly, once removed from the museum setting and strung together into an hourlong feature, it's Maddin's most cohesive narrative.
  8. The results are always visually arresting, while the narrative, even by Maddin standards, is completely out in the ozone.
  9. If you're a fan of Maddin's expressionist style, you'll find the humor within. Everyone else will be scratching their heads, despite Maddin's extraordinary visual imagination.
  10. The overall feel is phantasmagoric--pitched, like most of Maddin's work, in the style of a half-remembered late silent feature or early talkie.
User Score
5.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 8
  2. Negative: 4 out of 8
  1. JohnS
    Oct 16, 2005
    10
    If you are looking for mainstream mindless formulaic predicable and familiar, don't rent this movie. It is a true piece of original art. If you are looking for mainstream mindless formulaic predicable and familiar, don't rent this movie. It is a true piece of original art. It is hyponotic and brilliniant, and even profound in points. But mostly its a fun experiment that works on all levels. I liked it more than "Saddest Music" too. But these movies should come with warnings. "If you are really concrete minded, you should rent something else. Stick to mainstream Hollywood products." Full Review »
  2. ChrisB
    Jan 12, 2006
    0
    Maybe the critics from the Village Voice, New York Daily News, etc. find "Cowards Bend the Knee" new and interesting, but as a former Toronto Maybe the critics from the Village Voice, New York Daily News, etc. find "Cowards Bend the Knee" new and interesting, but as a former Toronto art school student let me assure you it isn't. Every student art film in Toronto is a combination of two or more of the ingredients that Maddin uses; grainy black and white film stock, unnecessary nudity, emotionally uncomfortable scenes, and stilted acting. Just because it's boring and uncomfortable doesn't make it good. Full Review »
  3. JohnD.
    Nov 29, 2005
    4
    I clearly agree that the director is quite talented and his talent for handling images shows. However, after about 10 minutes I was bored and I clearly agree that the director is quite talented and his talent for handling images shows. However, after about 10 minutes I was bored and stayed that way for the full hour. It was a long hour. I just can't recommend this to anyone. Full Review »