Werckmeister Harmonies Image

Universal acclaim - based on 8 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 67 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Based on László Krasznahorkai's novel "The Melancholy of Resistance," this is an uncanny fable about powerlessness and tyranny. Set in a small Hungarian village at a moment of great crisis, a mysterious circus comes to town with a giant whale and news of an appearance by a Prince known for his strange powers. Soon the locals' emotions are stirred to a fever pitch of anticipation. (Anthology Film Archives) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. An indelible statement on loneliness and spiritual thirst.
  2. 100
    While Tarr's newest epic, Werckmeister Harmonies, isn't intended for the shopping-mall crowd, it is more viewer-friendly and will please adventurous moviegoers.
  3. This is as challenging as movies come, alluding to everything from philosopher Thomas Hobbes to the history of Western music.
  4. 90
    The pacing is slow, but the film is entrancing and earns a permanent place in the viewer's mind.
  5. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    A stunning feature -- another hypnotic meditation on popular demagogy and mental manipulation.
  6. 80
    A work of bravura filmmaking.
  7. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    The film could easily be reduced to a parable of post-Communist Eastern Europe, but the allegory digs deeper into the very order of things, exemplified by 17th-century musicologist Andreas Werckmeister's arbitrary imposition of a "tempered" tonal system over naturally occurring tunings.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 32
  2. Negative: 8 out of 32
  1. RezaT
    Jun 24, 2008
    Abbas Kiarostami`s career died a couple of years ago when he started using digital Cameras. I was depressed for a couple of years as I felt true artistic cinema has died. Thanks to Béla Tarr I realized I was wrong. Expand
  2. davidg
    Jun 13, 2009
    If this is not among the top 10% of the thousands of movies that have been released in the world in the last hundred years, there must be a huge disconnect between popularity and quality: a problem with the idea of voting for the good itself. Expand
  3. AndresZ.
    Jun 16, 2007
    Bela Tarr's surreal epic is an advance in pure avant-garde mastery - proof of Tarr's rise to power in Hungary. There are only 39 shots in the film, yet all are evocative of the presence of true magic. Along side with the great roles in the film, Tarr's mise-en-scene is flawless at capturing the fear and atmospheric in its perfectly realized milieu. By far, "Werckmeister Harmonies" is, in every sense of the word, a masterpiece. Expand
  4. AlexD
    Oct 2, 2007
    Reading user comments is hilarious. I love it when someone like Brad C. below stumbles unwittingly into a challenging experiment like this one, it flies over his head, and he ends up raging against his own befuddlement. Hey Brad: poorly filmed? Really? I know you were bored, but those long takes are objectively, undeniably masterful in execution. And pointless? I'd say you just didn't get any of its many, complicated "points." In any case, a completely mesmerizing experience, for those hip to Bella Tarr's out-there wavelength. Expand
  5. Mark
    Aug 22, 2006
    This film deserves praise for the chances it takes. Its visual style and steadily mounting mood of dread are expertly done and hauntingly effective. These strengths keep me from rating this film below a 5. The same cannot be said for its exploration of its themes. It is a film that means to suggest more than is there, a laudable goal but one I don't feel was achieved. Its intentions are simply overmatched by its pretensions. After a while, the wooden performances and long takes become more than tedious and the overreliance on heavy-handed "symbolism" insulting. Ultimately, this film is nowhere near as insightful as it pretends to be. Expand
  6. Tim
    Apr 13, 2006
    Not nearly as deep as it thinks it is. Overblown and ponderous.
  7. BradC.
    Aug 1, 2007
    This movie was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Poorly acted, poorly filmed, and horribly paced. The movie is pointless and unentertaining. You will feel the pain of you brain cells dying throughout the the film should you make the mistake of watching it. Expand

See all 32 User Reviews

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