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Violet2014

  • 3.6
A grand prize winner at the Berlin Film Festival, VIOLET tells the story of 15-year-old Jesse who bears witness to his best friend's seemingly random murder at the mall. A carefully calibrated character study in the tradition of Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park, filmmaker Bas Devos' meticulously calculated debut explores the process of coping in the midst of senseless violence. Shot partially on 8-perf 65mm film by acclaimed cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis, VIOLET is constructed like a series of lush photographs; in each of the film's compositions, there is a sophisticated mosaic of loss, the permanence of trauma and the tumult of youth.

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2 members like this review

An astonishing good movie that, equally astonishingly, is beneficial in rethinking and re-representing the stages of grief along a line that moves humanely outside Kubler-Ross's well-known pattern. Best of all, "Violet" is a movie-movie in which the developmental pattern of images leads the viewer from the purely private, somewhat halting encounter with arbitrary death to a communal rite of transcendent performance of Deafheaven's song "Violet" that ultimately resolves into, dissolves into a cloud of mute impersonality. Out of abandoned square images in a video grid, later recalled in silently soulful images of movements through the fully attended images seen through a house's square windows, perhaps the home of the victim, "Violet" steadily evolves toward arcing, balletic curves of cyclists nearly air borne, then returning to earth and rebounding again in the steady work of reintegration of a mourning group that culminates in the audience crowd, only finally, as in life, to dissipate in a substantial cloud. There definitely is a soundtrack, an important, significant one, yet the flow of imagery declares the essential triumph of this movie's moving medium.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (4)

131499.small
top reviewer

An astonishing good movie that, equally astonishingly, is beneficial in rethinking and re-representing the stages of grief along a line that moves humanely outside Kubler-Ross's well-known pattern. Best of all, "Violet" is a movie-movie in which the developmental pattern of images leads the viewer from the purely private, somewhat halting encounter with arbitrary death to a communal rite of transcendent performance of Deafheaven's song "Violet" that ultimately resolves into, dissolves into a cloud of mute impersonality. Out of abandoned square images in a video grid, later recalled in silently soulful images of movements through the fully attended images seen through a house's square windows, perhaps the home of the victim, "Violet" steadily evolves toward arcing, balletic curves of cyclists nearly air borne, then returning to earth and rebounding again in the steady work of reintegration of a mourning group that culminates in the audience crowd, only finally, as in life, to dissipate in a substantial cloud. There definitely is a soundtrack, an important, significant one, yet the flow of imagery declares the essential triumph of this movie's moving medium.

2 members like this review
111509.small
top reviewer

Griping and sordid, shot in an 'Instagram' fashion it has many poetic scenes but also quite a few highly abstract lifeless shots. A Philip Glass soundtrack would be a natural here since the film is 'silent' in more ways then one. Overall it was interesting and enjoyable.

1 member likes this review

Haunting. Fits with my own experience of being there during tragic loss of a young life. I didn't know film could handle this: What it's like to fall into a dark ditch with no bottom. This film does. The makers here had the courage to slow down, force the watcher to absorb it all.

I truly do enjoy the style of long takes that tell the story through the atmosphere and the images. Unfortunately I find some of the imagery somewhat cliche and the plot development predictable. Telling a story in this way isn't very unique, there are plenty of films that draw on this sort of story telling with long takes and little dialogue. Feels like a 3 hour film.