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Overall Rating

Awesome: 33.33%
Worth A Look: 8.33%
Average: 4.17%
Pretty Bad: 16.67%
Total Crap37.5%

1 review, 18 user ratings

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by Greg Muskewitz

"It defies definition by genre and cinematics, but is denoted as pure crap."
1 stars

The mind-bogglers keep rolling in: Orlando, a period piece dating back to the Elizabethan 1600s, is an original story written and directed by Sally Potter.

Elizabeth herself is only temporarily around, wrinkled and decayed at that, but she has chosen Lord Orlando (Tilda Swinton), a young pubescent boy (yes, Swinton is a woman) as some sort of benefactor to receive her estate. Immediately, the viewer is thrown into a state of flurry --are we supposed to know that it's just a female playing a male's role, is it just supposed to be understood as a female playing a male's role, etc., -- and while Swinton resembles a lot more closely the Elizabeth Cate Blanchett portrayed in Elizabeth, she is not nearly as convincing at gender-swapping roles like Hilary Swank was in Boys Don't Cry. At least there we knew that she was just a she, trying to be a he. The androgyny of Orlando is confusing, and only gets worse as Orlando ensues. The plot unspools like a frayed fish line, and first we have Orlando parading around with an aquilined young woman, until a nomadic young girl comes and steals his heart only to disappear. We jump to 1610, and then 1650, and still nowhere is there any evidence of aging, of character development, etc. Orlando's voice is still that of a feminine child. No matter how you look at it, it is nearly impossible to become accustomed to her in the role. The only thing that continues to change along the way, aside from the years, is the locales he travels to and added moderninities (my own word). Like in 1850 (in 1750, Swinton as a she has again become, or actually for the first time, he as a she, as he unexpectedly dawns dresses and magically decided to be a woman) there is a train. But all this becomes frightfully idiotic and non-sensical. The story is going nowhere, except with little comments on poetry, and preposterous occurrences continue taking place, all for it to adding up to nothing. To posit any guesses becomes a futile attempt to decipher Potter's rootless field of weeds, as the dirt piles amass far over your head. It is not so much pretentious as it is ridiculous and fatuous. With the exception of sudden patches of graininess, the cinematography is typically teeming with beauty and color. Orlando offers no amends nor explanations for its quirkiness and purposeful ambiguity, and so I quit on it somewhere during the course of 1750.

Final Verdict: F.

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originally posted: 01/17/01 10:46:43
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User Comments

2/08/10 Danny I love it when people call things they don't understand "idiotic." Priceless irony. 5 stars
11/18/08 paul oh so how's it going in the 1750s ? 5 stars
11/30/07 Ben Dover this film is like eating crap out of dying buffolo ass with a rusty spoon 1 stars
1/21/07 pittsburgh Progressive Auto Insurance Tennessee 2 stars
12/18/06 mortgage refinance 4 stars
3/20/06 Jason B Moderninities? Dr Johnson, come here for a second please! 5 stars
4/02/05 uberly if looked on in a PoMo point of view can be v. good. But for entertainment value not so goo 4 stars
10/25/04 Lynn Huntingdon Brilliant! Muskewitz obviously hasn't heard of Virginia Woolf, on whose novel this is based 5 stars
8/09/04 Jean Shaun Incredible, a career maker for an actress 5 stars
11/25/03 Layla Totally confusing! and i have to study it for my HSC! Not the best Film in the world.... 2 stars
5/22/03 Alice from Wonderland Not for dumb shits 5 stars
5/15/03 adrian awful, terrible, dismal 1 stars
1/29/03 beaucoupfish plot? we dont need no stinking plot! 3 stars
12/05/01 Jordan this film is a waist of time 1 stars
7/18/01 Sherbet oh my, oh my!!! 5 stars
4/18/01 Liv Loved it! 5 stars
1/17/01 the Grinch Ar-ar-ar-ar-ART FAGS! 2 stars
12/14/00 Tom This movie gave me a headache, only because i couldn't figure what the fuck it was about!! 2 stars
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  02-Nov-1993 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-Aug-2010



Directed by
  Sally Potter

Written by
  Sally Potter

  Tilda Swinton
  Quentin Crisp
  Jimmy Somerville
  Billy Zane
  Lothaire Bluteau

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