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65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: A strange singer with ‘god given talent’ drifts through the mythic city of Memphis under its canopy of ancient oak trees, shattered windows and burning spirituality. Surrounded by lovers, legends, hustlers, preachers, and a wolfpack of kids, the unstable performer avoids the recording studioA strange singer with ‘god given talent’ drifts through the mythic city of Memphis under its canopy of ancient oak trees, shattered windows and burning spirituality. Surrounded by lovers, legends, hustlers, preachers, and a wolfpack of kids, the unstable performer avoids the recording studio and is driven to spend time in his own form of self-discovery. Shown in fragments, his journey drags him from love and happiness right to the edge of another dimension. [Kino Lorber] Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Brody
    Apr 16, 2015
    100
    [Willis’s] heavy trudge on a game leg suggests weariness of historical dimensions; the harmonious mysteries of the urban landscape are themselves the essence of his art. A brilliant sequence of musicians at work gets away from familiar modes of filmed performance and into the depths of inner experience.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Sep 4, 2014
    80
    A soulful cinematic tone poem.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Oct 2, 2014
    75
    I thought of “That’s Life!” while watching Memphis, Tim Sutton’s sometimes forced, sometimes extraordinary tone poem about a modern-day bluesman. Enigmatic and brief — all of 79 minutes — the movie seems to fall into the cracks between documentary and fiction.
  4. Reviewed by: Vadim Rizov
    Sep 3, 2014
    67
    Constantly just dodging visual cliché, Sutton tries to isolate moments of beauty and frustration within a specific milieu. Sometimes he captures resonant moments in bars and in stray dialogue; other times, his purposelessness seems less like a strategy and more like an evasive feint.
  5. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Sep 3, 2014
    60
    While Memphis is similar in style and in assurance to the lower-ambition Pavilion, it reaches toward something it can’t fully grasp.
  6. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Sep 18, 2014
    50
    [An] aimless but oddly charismatic film.
  7. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Sep 3, 2014
    40
    The filmmaker’s second feature is an unfortunate sophomore slump, an abrasive and opaque artist-in-crisis story that feels protracted at barely 80 minutes.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of
  2. Mixed: 0 out of
  3. Negative: 0 out of

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