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Overall Rating
3.14

Awesome: 29.55%
Worth A Look: 20.45%
Average: 15.91%
Pretty Bad: 2.27%
Total Crap31.82%

2 reviews, 32 user ratings


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Begotten
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by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

"Misbegotten"
3 stars

God is dead. He just disemboweled Himself in a cabin deep in the woods. Next thing you know, Mother Earth emerges from the entrails. And you, dear viewer, are in Hell, especially if you have trouble stomaching lugubrious arthouse epics like this.

An early effort from the director who more recently gave us the overrated SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, this film is capital-A Art, one which aims at nothing less than the status of creation myth. The movie falls considerably short of that lofty goal--as well it might--but it's interesting, at least part of the way. It is shot entirely in grainy black-and-white; it has no dialogue; there is no plot to speak of. What it has is a murkily defined scenario, punctuated with occasionally striking imagery, dealing with the birth and death of the gods. Either that or a meat packers strike in Cleveland.

The expressionistic B&W visuals immediately bring to mind David Lynch's ERASERHEAD--and BEGOTTEN does not benefit from the comparison; it lacks the richness of texture that distinguishes its forebear. BEGOTTEN simply trundles along in Joseph Campbell territory, earnestly and monotonously. You're not halfway through the film when the director hits the bottom of his bag of tricks, and it begins to look like he's repeating the same shots over and over. An awful lot of screen time is devoted to a guy twitching spasmodically on the ground while hooded figures stand around him.

In all fairness, we do get some compelling moments; the opening sequence is eye-grabbingly strange, and the cataphonic, ever-shifting soundtrack may be a more impressive achievement than the visuals. There is talent at work here--but it's not enough to produce a cohesive, satisfying movie.

Not bad, but I think Merhige missed his calling: he should have been a director of thrash-metal videos.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6588&reviewer=223
originally posted: 12/26/02 18:53:51
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User Comments

4/06/17 Monsterman A disturbing, surreal masterwork that may not be for everyone. A Powerful experience. 5 stars
12/16/12 Mel It tries to be disturbing and artsy and deep and esoteric....it's all been done before. 1 stars
11/03/12 Gee Dee brill visuals & style. some scenes were too long. plot seems like an excuse to be mystical. 4 stars
5/02/12 Marty couldn't see what was happening, so it's a waste of film. pretty simpl 1 stars
6/21/11 David Not accessible. Too pretentious. Too long and not clever enough - shock and awe missing. 2 stars
6/13/11 sklee started out well; creepy and intriguing, but the rest is massively drawn out. yawn. 3 stars
3/16/11 Saif A. Khan If you were a true, textbook Christian, you wouldn't be watching films anyway so shutup. 4 stars
11/10/10 E. Buzz Miller I enjoyed it, but there aren't many people I could recommend it to. 4 stars
8/18/10 mitchell davis this movie is an insult to anyone religious and is a disgrace to believers everywhere. 1 stars
8/22/09 Prof J. I get efforts like this about once a semester, always from the same types. 1 stars
5/20/09 bm The emporer has no clothes 1 stars
5/02/08 brice beware of the ever valiant Christian apologist masquerading as an expert in everything... 5 stars
6/27/06 Tim Walegun The film demands rapt attention to comprehend what your looking at, let alone what it means 4 stars
10/15/05 OodlesofOs A film you really have to sit and think about for hours and days after watching. 5 stars
10/13/05 Bryant Gumby Some people just don't get anything challenging. Some people just don't get anything. 5 stars
9/19/05 mung Bold, hypnotic, mesmerizing, fascinating, absorbing, dreamlike...GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/16/05 drippy Completely unique...I agree that it changed the way I look at film. 5 stars
9/07/05 Bitchum THIS is challenging cinema. There's absolutely NOTHING like it. 5 stars
9/05/05 JubJub Ripped my mind apart and put it all back together...a one-of-a-kind film. 5 stars
9/03/05 Craven Just a beautiful, macabre, fascinating piece of work this is. Amazing in every way! 5 stars
9/02/05 Mailk You people wouldn't know brilliance if it raped you in the ass...go back to "Fight Club" 5 stars
9/02/05 Edward This movie changed the way I look at cinema-as-art. Just beautiful. 5 stars
9/02/05 Kelsey Disgusting... but great cinematography and a TRUE work of art. 4 stars
6/01/05 Indrid Cold Fantastic visuals, but gratuitous; Merhige has no other good ideas in this or later movies. 4 stars
4/03/04 cws Nothing there. 1 stars
1/23/04 M. Thomas Camp I think the movie is very strange, but awesome in it's way. 4 stars
12/05/03 yorgos dalman one of a kind mindbending masterp... 'well... something...' 5 stars
10/18/03 Corky Strikingly visual, and simultaneously repellent and majestic. 4 stars
8/02/03 Steve-O aside the visuals, there's not much too it 1 stars
4/14/03 Kara B. disgustingly beautiful, a one of a kind experience 5 stars
3/29/03 My T. Susspishus Beware of "Art" masquerading as splatter-snuff. 4 stars
3/23/03 Clive McQueen Crap 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Jun-1991 (NR)

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