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  • Summary: Awarded for its visionary cinematography, General Orders No. 9 breaks from the constraints of the documentary form as it contemplates the signs of loss and change in the American South. The stunning culmination of over eleven years’ work from first time writer-director Robert Persons, General Orders No. 9 marries experimental film making with an accessible, naturalist sensibility to tell the epic story of the clash between nature and man's progress, and reaches a bittersweet reconciliation all its own. Told entirely with images, poetry, and music, General Orders No. 9 is unlike any film you have ever seen. A story of maps, dreams, and prayers, it’s one last trip down the rabbit hole before it’s paved over. (New Rose Window) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 6
  2. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Jun 23, 2011
    75
    General Orders No. 9 is bound to test the patience, but there are rewards to be found in its deliberate rhythms - foremost amongst them, the glorious, haunting visuals.
  2. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Jun 21, 2011
    70
    First-time writer-director Robert Persons' documentary on the Deep South introduces a new filmmaker with a distinctive sensibility.
  3. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Jun 21, 2011
    70
    Much of this commentary, equally in awe of progress and suspicious of it, is strikingly sincere.
  4. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Jun 24, 2011
    50
    Yet the urban images he presents are missing the thing that makes any city come alive: human beings. You begin to suspect that Mr. Persons hates humanity. This makes General Orders No. 9, for all its sheen of sophistication, rather simplistic: people bad, nature good.
  5. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jun 21, 2011
    40
    There is no depth or resonance to anything we see and hear-everything is as it seems, no more, no less, and the reactionary superficiality dulls the senses. General Orders No. 9 strains for elegiac profundity and ends up as bad, backward-looking poetry.
  6. Reviewed by: Joseph Jon Lanthier
    Jun 21, 2011
    38
    Under the modern mannerisms lies a rather clumsily Romantic -- one might say Wordsworthian -- rant that juxtaposes urbanity against a nebulous, fictitious past.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Nov 26, 2013
    9
    I came back this evening to finish watching and have forgotten anything annoying about the sound. Instead, I am even more enthralled by this film in poetry--or is it poetry in film. The film is not for someone seeking to be entertained. Rather, it is for those who seek to think and feel what they've not felt or thought before--or at least not in the way Robert Persons shows us. And William Davidson's voice, soft and richly nuanced, makes him the perfect narrator. Expand
  2. Feb 22, 2013
    4
    A mildly interesting montage of quality photos and video clips, overlaid by a soundtrack that has all the appeal of an emergency alert broadcast test signal. That combination is layered by an overly dramatic voiceover reading an often pretentious script. The challenge for most people is getting to the end without turning this film off. If you happen to live in, came from, or have some sort of unusual love for the State of Georgia, this work might actually keep your rapt attention. If not, then good luck with this thing. Expand