Set in England during the early 19th century, Pandaemonium evokes late-1960s America in its depiction of the relationship between Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Linus Roach) and William Wordsworth (John Hannah). Instead of going... more » to Vietnam, Wordsworth goes off to fight against the French while Coleridge stays at home and promotes utopianism. After the war, the poets live and work together with Coleridge's wife, Sara (Samantha Morton), and Wordsworth's sister, Dorothy (Emily Woof). At first this communal arrangement works to the advantage of Coleridge--who does some of his best writing while Wordsworth stagnates--until Coleridge becomes addicted to opium. Wordsworth, meanwhile, doesn't find his voice until he abandons his friend. In 20th-century vernacular, Wordsworth is the yuppie, Coleridge the hippie. Director Julien Temple (Absolute Beginners) even evokes 1960s cinema with this occasionally overwrought--but often visually stunning--essay on the mysteries of creativity. --Kathleen C. Fennessy« less
"I am not a historian, and have not read either William Wordsworth's accounts of his relationship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, or visa versa. Before going into this film I was vaguely aware of their friendship, turned rivalry. Based on the 2 reviews available on Amazon.com, I almost didn't buy this DVD.However, I weighed the facts: I love both the poems of Coleridge and of Wordsworth that I have read. They are epic and broad in scope, as well as eloquent and lyrical. I am also an admirer of both Linus Roache and John Hannah's work, and find Julian Temple an interesting director to say the least. I thought: how bad could this combination be? My didactical reasoning won out and I bought and viewed this film, and I'm glad of it. And I can only recommend that others follow my lead.Is it historically accurate? As far as I know, which is not a lot, in this matter - no! That said, it is trying to make a statement, not be a documentary. Is Wordsworth displayed as an ogre in favor of praising Coleridge's drug-assisted genius? Not really. Wordsworth's opinion - that Coleridge's genius was not worth every price - was fairly portrayed in the film. Coleridge's drug addition is also not prettied up, or made to look romantic. Fair is fair. They were both geniuses in their own right, but - like us all - mortals as well, with all the flaws that go with it. They obviously became rivals, which is also - unfortunately - very human; we the audience have the opportunity to recognize that we don't need to choose between them.Panning this film for its historical inaccuracies is like the Maritimer shooting the albatross...it goes against the nature of the thing. Experience the film as a poem, and relax about the details. Isn't that what both of their poetry tried to teach us?Beautifully acted and magnificently filmed. Please give this little gem a chance!"
Brilliant all around masterpiece
Molly Zenk | Colorado | 08/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Pandaemonium" is truly a tribute to two of the great geniuses of English Literature--Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. All aspects combine together to create a masterpiece for all lovers of poetry AND Romantic Poets. I teach English 9-12 and a class on the Romantic Poets so I know my stuff and was completely blown away by the beauty and dedication of the movie. It doesn't pull punches with the opium addiction and Coleridge's usually cold marriage to his wife Sarah. Lord Byron makes a cameo. I was slightly disappointed that there was no room for introducing Asra--Mary Wordsworth's sister and Coleridge's obsession--but that side story doesn't detract from the overall experience. I cried at the end because "Kubla Khan" is truly his masterpiece and a beautiful work of literature. I will be showing this movie the first week of school with my Romantic Poet's class. It's a must! I just wish there was something equally brilliant about my true poetic love John Keats!"
Pandaemonium is a stellar modern day adaptation of the life
Adam S. Carter | Dickson, TN United States | 02/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Linus Roache and John Hannah shine in their portrayal of Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth (respectively). This BBC adaptation may alter some factual matters, as this usually is inherant within the dramatic confines of cinema to smooth out rough edges and sharpen the story's singular focus on the lives of the two poets and their accomplishments while leaving a few minor details unmentioned.
One aspect of the film that outshines even the performances is the cinematography, which is first rate. The film's director, Julien temple did a stellar, bravura job of shooting this film, which is set during the French Revolution. The photography of the English landscape is a rich, lush palette of colors. The rolling green hills were expertly shot. One thing I did sadly miss on this DVD is it's lack of a widescreen option, which would have further embellished Julien Temple's photography. From viewing the pan-and-scan version, I would assume that this film is a flat 1.85:1 film, not a scope 2.35:1 due to the picture not feeling too cropped.
The camera moves which show multiple wine glasses falling in slow motion, and also the hallucinogenic effects of opium are very effective. The movie runs at a nice edited, well paced 124 minutes. This allows sufficient time for good character development, but still brief enough to hold its' viewers attention. The movie doesn't try to capture Coleridge and Wordsworth entire lifespans, it simply captures the creative period that occurred during their time spent in close proximity together. Highly Recommended!"
The Milk of Paradise
William Timothy Lukeman | 06/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a quietly stunning film about the wonders & dangers of exploring the limits of creativity, bringing the power of poetry to vivid life & depicting timeless themes in a period setting. Is it historically accurate? Well, of course not -- but director Temple isn't making a dry, factual biopic, but offering poetry & parable. The choices embodied by Coleridge & Wordsworth (or the somewhat fictionalized representations of these poets) are choices each of us must face every day. How much of our individual creative fire are we willing to compromise for security? Conversely, how far beyond the boundaries of safety are we willing to go while pursuing our individual visions? I don't see how any viewer can come away from this beautiful film without a renewed appreciation for the magic of language; certainly it will send you to the nearest volume of poetry at hand!Dazzling images, rich colors, transporting words & fine acting all contribute to an intense & moving film experience. Highly recommended!"
A Great Movie about Great Poets
James Eret | Yucca Valley, California | 03/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Pandaemonium" just might be one of the greatest movies ever made about poets. There are very few that I've seen that haven't been superficial, over the top or boring. This movie is sublime. The story of Samuuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordworth makes grand entertainment and exciting drama. Linus Roche is a bundle of wild energy as Coleridge, with his addiction to opium (laudanum) taking center stage as a symbol of his ups and downs in his creative energy and mental health. John Hannah is very good as Worthsworh, a poet totally different than Coleridge but bound together at first for the common cause of writing great poetry. The cast is uniformly excellent and the story is exciting with great location photography and visionary scenes on how Coleridge composed and got the ideas for his masterpieces, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Kubla Khan," and the moving "Frost at Midnight." It is a great movie and great sadness, showing the arc of the two poet's careers. It avoids the stilted language and imagery of former historical epics and is as fresh as if these poets come alive now in the 21st century. A movie to treasure and share. Highly recommended. May it lead its viewers to appreciate poetry and poets more and elavate them to a high place where great words and visions are created and cherished."