Alaska is America's last frontier. This vast expanse of raw nature is both setting and antagonist in John Sayles' Limbo, the story of three people who come together to face their own demons and to learn the very nature of risk.
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Atmopheric, very well written and dark insight about humans who find themselves in desperate situation. Limbo is possibly darkest and most complex of Sayles films among his own Lone Star and Matewan. It is also his grimmest work to date with beautiful photgraphy by Sayles regular Haskell Wexler. There is a masterpiece hidden somewhere in this film, but Sayles' decision to split his film into a two different films is not a wise move. If Limbo only would centered it's fantastic and touching second half, which focuses into the survival of three humans in a wilderness of Alaska. This seqment has career best performaces from film's lead actors David Strathairn, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and especially for young Vanessa Martinez who outdoes even her older collagues. Her delicate monologues and ability to portatrait loneliness and hidden angst is wonderful to watch and ranks as one this unique film's highpoints. Director/writer John Sayles also delivers perfect ending for his film. It might not satisfy everyone, but in a way it is a masterful way to end film titled as a Limbo. If Sayles would instead of two films focused in one, this would be something masterful, but now it ends just being very good. That is still not a bad achievement at all.
- emilkakko, Saturday, January 21, 2012
An ex-fisherman falls in love with a singer, but their relationship is tested when they are stranded in the Alaskan hinterland. This film is two films in one. The first is a continuation of Silver City set in Alaska, and the second is a mildly compelling survival tale. I side with the anti-corporate political points director John Sayles elaborates on in the first part of the film, but like Silver City and anything Richard Linklater has ever done, the politics seem preachy and aren't especially compelling as a story. The survival tale is pretty good, but it doesn't reach the levels that films like The Edge or even the less compelling 127 Hours. Other critics have called the ending of the film "contrived" and a "cop-out," and only because they have commented on it, I'll weigh in with my agreement. Sure, the ending fits with the title and maybe even the film's theme (this is a place in between modernity and tradition), but I ultimately just rolled my eyes during the credits. Overall, I think fans of John Sayles know what they're getting, and most people would only find this film because they like Sayles.
- hunterjt13, Friday, May 10, 2013
John Sayles' Limbo is a fascinating film on many levels. It's a drama in the truest sense of the word, with interesting characters, relate-able situations, realistic world building, and character dynamics that interweave seamlessly to create a really compelling story. At the same time, Limbo is markedly different from other dramas. It utilizes a unique narrative format, unconventional in its approach. It shifts between characters, juxtaposed with other story-lines, but all in an inner-connected and coherent way. So unconventional is this approach, that Limbo almost mesmerizes the viewer with its story and themes. We are never so much concerned about the plot developments as we are the characters themselves, and how they are feeling in any given moment, a hallmark of excellent direction, and any intelligent drama. As such, Limbo's script is both intelligent and often ingenious. It clearly has a point, but underscores it in a very subtle way. The dialogue took a while to get used to, but remains consistent and true to itself, in such a sort of stylized way, that it becomes part of the film. The acting in Limbo is also quite strong, with a terrific ensemble cast. This is headlined mainly by the underrated David Strathairn, with one of the best dialed-down (as his characters often are) performances of his career. He is matched well with Mary Mastranton and Vanessa Martinez, in an especially impressive performance. The one aspect of Limbo that some are bound not to like is it's ambiguous ending. Some may look at it as a cop-out. Such criticisms are valid to an extent, although I found it daring. Had the film not earned the moment, I'd be upset, but, as it were, it felt in-line with what the film was trying to convey, an enormous sense of uncertainly, with both characters and the physical world. 4/5 Stars
- fb704730572, Sunday, June 30, 2013