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  • Summary: Protagonist weaves together the stories of 4 men: A German terrorist, a bank robber, a gay evangelist and a martial arts student. At first glance the characters appear disconnected. But as their stories unfold in riveting detail, one starts to see the parallels between the uncommon, commonProtagonist weaves together the stories of 4 men: A German terrorist, a bank robber, a gay evangelist and a martial arts student. At first glance the characters appear disconnected. But as their stories unfold in riveting detail, one starts to see the parallels between the uncommon, common experience of these four men. To illustrate the timelessness of her subjects' dilemmas, Yu uses puppets and the work of Greek dramatist Euripides. Whether famous, infamous, or simply anonymous, each lives out the eternal drama of how we control--or don't control--our own destinies. (IFC Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    100
    Wu is able to demonstrate both the timelessness and the universality of stories which, on the surface, sound extreme and unique.
  2. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    80
    The dangers of extremism and the virtues of uncertainty are the keys to the remarkable Protagonist, docu helmer Jessica Yu's exploration of four men's journey through dysfunction, obsession and redemption.
  3. Reviewed by: Jeremy Mathews
    80
    The film becomes at once an argument for the accuracy of fictional conventions and for the power of true, personal experiences.
  4. At first, the technique seems gimmicky, but finally it's as compelling a perspective as any to understand how these men passed through agony to some sort of peace.
  5. Jessica Yu’s enthralling documentary exploration of people with obsessive needs for control and self-mastery.
  6. While Yu's experimental approach brings valuable insight to the human condition, the interviews themselves too rarely measure up to her ambitious structure.
  7. 25
    Unfortunately, it doesn't work. None of the talking heads is as interesting as Yu thinks they are; and it's difficult to build sympathy for any of them.

See all 16 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. [Anonymous]
    Dec 5, 2007
    10
    Beautiful, funny, thoughtful, provocative.

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