19 July 2016 | Otoboke
Interesting Mood Piece
A Man There Was tells the story of Terge Vigen, a Swedish seaman played by director Victor Sjöström who plucks up the courage to take on the British Empire's naval blockade of trade routes which in turn is slowly starving out his small village, wife and child. Set mostly amid the chaotic northern sea and coastlines, Sjöström creates a wonderfully moody and sombre atmosphere throughout filled with strife and tension, an impressive and fitting soundtrack (on the 2008 DVD version), distilled by beautiful intertitles taken from a Henrik Ibsen poem. Although it has its moments and overall is an enjoyable feature, its short runtime, sometimes plodding pacing and lack of significant plotting stop the movie from ever truly taking off beyond being a mere mood piece.