11 Minutes Screen 19 articles

11 Minutes


11 Minutes Poster
  • Skolimowski has generally been a formally restrained director throughout his career, but 11 Minutes’ climax, which is its clear raison d’être, tries for the operatic mayhem of Brian De Palma and lands with a gigantic, laughable belly flop. Despite a feeble effort to toss in some thematic import (by way of a mysterious object in the sky observed by several characters), the movie isn’t about anything apart from its own ostensible virtuosity, and that’s a complete whiff. Which leaves… nothing.

  • The constant splitting of Jerzy Skolimowski’s 11 Minutes across its many scenarios over 11 minutes in their lives not only grows tiresome, but seems little more than manipulation once the climax, in which all the stories intersect, is reached. I’m sure Skolimowski could mount a reasonable case for why, at this late date in his career, he’s aping early Tom Tykwer, but that still wouldn’t save the film.

  • There’s a lot of life but a comparative dearth of humanity in “11 Minutes,” a buzzing, hurtling, too-fast-to-think thriller that scarcely makes sense of one of its numerous cross-woven mini-narratives... While “11 Minutes” gives his technique a brisk workout, it’s minor-to-sloppy on a conceptual and narrative basis, shot through with underbaked script threads — some of them raw dough, frankly — passed off as experimental snapshots.

  • Empire of the images. A series of power games and interconnected misadventures filmed in a Danny Boyle-like empty style. Probably Jerzy Skolimowski worst movie, but it is so stupid it becomes sorta lovable. The all roads lead to death exercise is a lot less impressive than Skolimowski seems to be thinking. The film is about images losing any meaning while one tries to give them shape and keep control.

  • Seemingly over-conceptualized, 11 Minutes tells the stories of a handful of characters taking place during a simultaneous 11-minute period, until several of them interact in a split second in which everything lines up, rather explosively. It’s the type of material we’ve seen Hollywood make garbage out of, but in Skolimowski’s gifted hands, it’s an expertly crafted film in which every piece fits together just right. It’s not high art, but it packs a wallop.

  • Two strands of cinema meet here. The first is the multi-character “network narrative”: a kind of film that has historically possessed a tendency toward middlebrow preciosity or inflatedness. The second strand here turns out to be the antidote to the first: the satirical thriller, a form favored by masters such as Hitchcock, De Palma, Chabrol and Verhoeven. Skolimowski’s sardonic humor is the overlay, the governing sensibility that pulls these two strains together.

  • This sounds corny; this sounds like the hokum of Paul Haggis’s Crash. This sounds like a network narrative. And it is! 11 Minutes is a winking, nudging, puckish one, pitched as a suspenseful Hitchcockian version of Michael Haneke’s 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance.

  • The references or signal points or thefts, whatever they truly are to the veteran filmmaker, never bog down 11 Minutes. Skolimowski's formal control over the material is so masterful that the textual particulars are revealed to be beside the point, as this film is so intensely, confidently an “exercise” as to ironically transcend the superficial connotations of that term.

  • A low-bore DeLillo-ness plays at the movie's edges, but does it aggregate into a substantial something? Not really, but the traces of postmodern dread, however Haneke-lite it all may be (isn't everything Haneke-lite?), can tickle your short hairs if you're prone.

  • A wholly kinetic experience that hurls viewers through time and space. It takes place over the 11 minutes leading up to a freak occurrence in Warsaw, covering the short interval from multiple points of view and freely shuffling the chronology. Skolimowski's camera is almost always in motion, and the complex narrative structure creates another, temporal sense of vertigo.

  • With “11 Minutes” [Skolimowski] delivers a work of such intensity and energy that it’s startling to consider that the director is in his mid-70s... The soundtrack is dominated by ominous drones and buzzes, and while the fates-colliding-over-a-small-period-of-time film is a fairly common one these days, trust me, you’ve never seen one like this. It’s a virtuoso stress monster of a movie.

  • A thoroughly entertaining and quite flamboyant Polish-language multi-strander. The trick of bringing together multiple, seemingly unconnected characters in a complex, fragmented jigsaw structure has become an increasingly popular cinematic pursuit - but while films such as 21 Grams and Crash tend to highlight their philosophical we-are-all-connected thematics, Skolimowski’s essay in chance and causality is more of a virtuoso exercise.

  • Time is obviously a key element of 11 Minutes. In an astonishing game of mirages—where time expands and contracts giddily—Skolimowski manages the 81 minutes of the movie, which correspond to 11 fictional minutes, to feel like real time: a feat in which the passages of inaction planted by the writer-director in the story play a key role.

  • After Four Nights with Anna and Essential Killing, accounts of singular psyches both, Skolimowski switches to an ensemble piece, though one composed of kinetic shards rather than staid personalities... It’s bound to be a divisive one, but the way this cunning, bracing film’s conclusion rejects the subgenre’s habitually affirmative view of human connection fully attests to Skolimowski’s mordant need, now as ever, to seek rather than to settle.

  • In effect, Skolimowski skewers network narrative self-seriousness with a story that revolves around deliberate nonsense and giddy nihilism even as it adds an explicitly political angle that pablum like Babel ignores. 11 Minutes captures numerous people on a collision course, but as the finale proves, even mass surveillance cannot fully predict, much less prevent, catastrophe.

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    Sight & Sound: Richard Porton
    October 30, 2015 | Gdynia | December 2015 Issue (p. 55)

    While some critics denounced the film as either "nihilistic" or a maze of shaggy dog stories, 11 Minutes can be viewed as an exuberant distillation of a zany assortment of stock movie climaxes – a canny evisceration of the soothing virtues of 'narrative closure' in cinema... Only a filmmaker with a masterful grasp of storytelling could demolish the rudiments of cinematic technique with such panache.

  • A film brimming with energy, 11 Minutes is balanced between intimate moments of drama and comedy energized by a cinematic fervor, especially the closing scenes that sadly will lose much of their impact outside of the movie theater.

  • The director films these micro-narratives with oblique diffidence, almost resigned yet by no means complacent. Skolimowski never flaunts his direction, yet this is always recognizably his film. He neither totally adheres to social realism nor expressionism in his cinema. The Polish director strikes a dramatic balance between subjective introspection and engagement with the outside world, stability and vertigo, the art of getting by and that of getting through.

  • 11 Minutes might be positioned as a feature film from a major director like no other. It has been compared to a formally adventurous (for mainstream cinema) film like Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run, Tom Tykwer, 1999), although I’m inclined to think a film like Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2001) is a more relevant cross reference; Lola playfully tweaks cause and effect narrative rather than basically reconfiguring it.

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