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An incredibly refined emotional experience, the splattered emotions on its dirty canvas nonetheless the product of a specific, deeply felt directorial vision.
Never a banal depiction of dysfunctional group dynamics, Stinking Heaven, which was shaped, as in Silver's previous work, largely through improvisation, remains consistently absorbing.
The New Yorker
[Silver's] densely textured images have many planes of action, which he parses with pans and zooms, revealing the volatile bonds of a group on the verge of combustion as well as the howling horrors of unremitting solitude.
As in Nathan Silver's previous work, what could have been a rote retread of Pasolini's Teorema blossoms into a study of factional identity and power dynamics.
Whether scenes tilt toward very mordant farce or gut-stabbing trauma, there’s a compelling sense — crafted or otherwise — that the actors are driving the tone from scene to scene, with Silver and his incisive editor Stephen Gurewitz determining the emotional transitions between them.
The New York Times
The brisk clip and dashes of dark humor ward off actual despair, but the length poses challenges for some of the heavy lifting of character growth.
The A.V. Club
Like many of Joe Swanberg’s recent efforts, Stinking Heaven plays like a potentially strong idea for a movie that never quite takes shape, which is the problem with “writing” a movie while the camera rolls.
The Hollywood Reporter
For every emotionally resonant scene, there's another that seems to drag on pointlessly, although the filmmaker once again displays a talent for delineating the emotional tensions that develop when disparate characters are thrown together.
Los Angeles Times
While the early going might bring to mind the Dogme 95 school of stripped-down filmmaking...the result, with its collective of uniformly unsympathetic characters, ultimately overdoses on all the unscripted bad vibes.
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