Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands Image

Universal acclaim - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Summary: A 10-part penny dreadful, a peepshow melodrama, loosely conceived around the filmmaker's autobiography, with an aesthetic that is one part "Vampire" serial, one part psycho fever-dream. (Film Forum)
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. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Ultimately, psychotically inventive pic is a formidable addition to the ever-evolving Maddin oeuvre.
  5. The results are always visually arresting, while the narrative, even by Maddin standards, is completely out in the ozone.
  6. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Oddly, once removed from the museum setting and strung together into an hourlong feature, it's Maddin's most cohesive narrative.
  7. 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.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 8
  2. Negative: 4 out of 8
  1. JohnS
    Oct 16, 2005
    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." Collapse
  2. [Anonymous]
    Oct 7, 2005
    I can honestly understand people hating this film. But I will only refund 1 hour of life per viewer... considering that is how long the movie is.
  3. JohnD.
    Nov 29, 2005
    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. Expand
  4. TrikoD.
    Oct 21, 2005
    This is exactly what I've known all along. The movie critics are actually theater critics who sleep with William Shakespeare under the pillow. Those critics who somehow made this movie to get over 80points don't really know why they're movie critics and out of bitterness try to fool everyone by giving a crack-addicts picasso-rape good points. Just because "simpletons" can't argue with critics-higher knowledge. They naturally know art where they see it. From here on out, I'll just read the "amateur" comments since they're obviously more realibable than a critic lying to pay his rent. Expand
  5. ChrisB
    Jan 12, 2006
    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. Expand

See all 8 User Reviews