Unknown Pleasures


Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10

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Critic Reviews

  1. 90
    Unknown Pleasures suggests a coolly formalist reinvention of neorealism. The film is both distanced and immediate -- a fiction with the force of documentary.
  2. 75
    A stunning study of ennui.
  3. 70
    There's a telling disjunction between the dismal lives of Jia's characters and the optimism of China's officially sunny advance into the 21st century, and their helplessness often becomes a pathetic pantomime.
  4. 70
    Much like his overrated 2000 opus "Platform," Unknown Pleasures spends more energy fussing over the backdrop than on the poor souls languishing in the fore, who have little to do but wander aimlessly and symbolically as life passes them by.
  5. There are several small, startling moments of insight hidden amid the long, slow stretches of listlessness. But the balance is slightly off. We could have used a little more pleasure to get us through his grim adolescent unknown.
  6. 60
    Perhaps the world doesn't need another picture on disaffected youth, but Pleasures is about more than alienation.
  7. The story goes nowhere...We don't understand the motivation of the characters.
  8. This sequel to Jia's excellent 1997 drama "Xiao Wu" is less original and absorbing than its predecessor, and less visually impressive than "Platform," his 2000 look at Chinese sociopolitical change.
  9. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    As lethargic as the characters it portrays, the film requires greater staying power than many audiences will possess.
  10. 25
    The film drags and lingers and goes more or less nowhere, imitating its protagonists' lives so exactly that you want to give them both a good smack.

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