One of the ten greatest films ever made; WHERE'S THE dvD?
TUCO H. | Los Angeles, CA | 01/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love most of Bunuel's films but "Death In the Garden" is definitely my absolute favorite, ahead of "Los Olvidados," and even "Viridiana." This film is as close to perfection as you can get, even though some critics like to call it a 'flawed' film. The 'flaws' in this film are further aspects of its pefection, if you ask me. It has its lunatic elements and a few supernatural angles like all Bunuel films, but it also showcases the 'romantic' side of the man too often labeled a pessimist. The totally 'amoral' yet not unadmirable Georges Marchal character "Shark" is the closest thing to an Yves Montand/Wages-of-Fear type 'hero' Bunuel ever got. What can I tell you? SEE THIS FILM, IT'S A MASTERPIECE. On the surface "Death in the GArden" is a "Wages of Fear" like adventure story (Charles Vanel from Clouzot's masterpiece is one of the main characters) where a bunch of people are put under pressure and forced to work together and survive. The people putting the pressure on are the military 'fascists' not the industrialist-fascists of "Wages of Fear." The story happens in a South American state, where a bunch of Diamond miners are being chased out by the corrupt military government. When a small-scale civil war breaks out, the leaders of the rebels become hunted men, and they have to escape by boat, ending up in a rain-soaked amazon jungle trying to get to Brazil. The characters have to cooperate and survive under an increasingly hopeless situation and reveal fascinating aspects of themselves in the process. There are no moral black and whites, of course, no steretypes either, but only a dynamically evolving morality shaded in different grays leaning toward the black here, toward the white there. You come to have a deep level of sympathy with almost every main character in the film, even Simone Signoret's avaricious Madame, but only after examining them as totally flawed human beings capable of many bizzare deeds, some admirable, others despicable, etc. The film has everything that makes greatness, layers and more layers: deep characters, adventure, action, pessimism, romanticism, eroticism, hilariously absurd farcical scenes, identification with religion while remaining anticlerical, a complete lack of sentimentality, fantastic color cinematography (very lush and colorful, almost Renoir-like, and unlike most of Bunuel's other color films), unbelievably great acting by Georeges Marchal, Simone Signoret, Charles Vanel, and a young Michel Piccoli, it even has a beautiful young deaf girl whose long hair gets stuck in a tree! What more could you want? Maltin must be out of his mind to give this film only 3 stars!"
Not a cheat
M. Toscano | 01/13/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just to correct another reviewer's error, this DVD is not a cheat, it's perfectly good. The film was shot in 1.37, not 1.66, and is presented properly."