Almayer's Folly (2011)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama


Almayer's Folly (2011) Poster

A tale of an occidental merchant, Kaspar Almayer, whose dreams of riches for his beloved daughter, Nina, collapse under the weight of his own greed and prejudice.


6.4/10
489

Videos


Photos

  • Aurora Marion in Almayer's Folly (2011)
  • Almayer's Folly (2011)
  • Zac Andianas and Aurora Marion in Almayer's Folly (2011)
  • Stanislas Merhar in Almayer's Folly (2011)
  • Stanislas Merhar and Aurora Marion in Almayer's Folly (2011)
  • Aurora Marion in Almayer's Folly (2011)

See all photos

More of What You Love

Find what you're looking for even quicker with the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


21 January 2013 | runamokprods
8
| Doesn't quite live up to it's promise, but Akerman is always worth seeing
Akerman's first narrative feature since 2004 has a lot of strengths, but a few frustrating flaws too. Loosely adapted from a Joseph Conrad novel, the film has an amazing opening sequence; surreal, beautiful, disturbing, dramatic and not quite like anything else I've seen from Akerman (whose work I greatly admire). There's sort of a David Lynch feel, a sense that after this opening, anything is possible, and we should not expect the film to play by the usual rules of realism or naturalism.

But the rest of the film turns out to be much more in Ms. Akerman's usual style, with a sort of heightened minimalist realism, largely formed by long takes of beautifully framed shots simply watching, and not overtly commenting on the characters. There's nothing wrong with that style, and it's produced some great films (Jeanne Dielmann, La Captive), along with some very good ones. But the promise of something new was not only exciting, but might have worked better for this particular story.

It seems to me like there is simply too much plot for Akerman's slow, deliberate style. Her usual approach works best when nothing much seems to be happening, allowing us time to peer beneath the surface of tightly controlled behavior, though her composition and her actors' faces. Here, with a lot of narrative twists and turns to cover, the style felt more opaque, and its observations about the folly and insanity of white imperialists traveling into the world with the hope of re-making the native people (in this case the protagonist's daughter) into good little white people –- alongside the madness of thinking they control the power of the jungle itself -- a bit too easy. We know these ideas and recognize them quickly (Of course, in a sad development, modern multi-nationals have accomplished it much more successfully than Conrad would ever have imagined) .

But given Akerman's style in this case, much goes missing. We have to take it for granted that the indigenous culture is better, since we see literally nothing of it. We have to accept that Almayer is obsessed with his daughter, since he allows her to be taken off to a school to essentially 'turn her white' early on, and he doesn't see her for years, making his obsession bizarrely shallow (I do think this is intentional on Akerman's part, but if so it's a fascinating idea I wish the film explored more deeply – Almayer is more obsessed with the idea of his half-white daughter made 'whole', than by any real connection to the actual girl. As with the land, controlling the universe is more important than experiencing it.).

Lastly, the soul killing effect on the girl of going through the white school feels overplayed in the performance in a way that's distancing. Nina has become a virtual zombie, emotionally so dead that its hard to feel for her or care about her. Yet we've seen little of what she's gone through, just a brief scene of off-screen sounds of her being berated by a presumably white teacher. The opening has told us that she ultimately finds transcendence, of perhaps a very curdled sort, but it doesn't make the trip there that much more powerful, since our attention is on Almayer so much of the time, relegating Nina the person, not the idea, to the periphery.

Now, all those complaints made, this is a stunning looking film, with some very powerful images, ideas, and moments. It's far more interesting than the vast majority of mainstream films we get to see here in the U.S. I just feel like Akerman was on the verge of another masterpiece, but somehow didn't quite get there. Sill this is very worth seeing, and as her films have a habit of doing, it has bounced around in my head for days afterwords.

Metacritic Reviews


Critic Reviews


More Like This

The Captive

The Captive

Tomorrow We Move

Tomorrow We Move

Je Tu Il Elle

Je Tu Il Elle

No Home Movie

No Home Movie

The Meetings of Anna

The Meetings of Anna

Down There

Down There

Night and Day

Night and Day

Toute une nuit

Toute une nuit

State of the World

State of the World

From the Other Side

From the Other Side

Golden Eighties

Golden Eighties

A Couch in New York

A Couch in New York

Did You Know?

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Drama

What's Cary Elwes' Most Shocking On-Set Moment?

The newest "Stranger Things" star thinks back on his unforgettable career, including the surprising moment from The Princess Bride that he'll always remember.

Watch now

Featured on IMDb

Check out IMDb's San Diego Comic-Con coverage, featuring Kevin Smith as captain of the IMDboat, July 18 to 20, 2019, visit our guide to Star Wars, family entertainment, and more.

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com