...In many ways [Dovzhenko's] most dazzling silent picture... More clearly influenced by Sergei Eisenstein than any of Dovzhenko’s other pictures, it’s certainly the one that uses fast editing in the most exciting fashion, and some of the poetic uses of Ukrainian folklore that were Dovzhenko’s specialty have an almost drunken abandon here — as in the singing horses.
Not being a classical narrative film, Arsenal is immediately perceived as a quick succession of seemingly unrelated images. Some of its images have the rawness, simplicity and immediacy of documentary or newsreel footage, while others seem quite formalist, even expressionist or exaggerated, playing with the borders of the frame or with inverted symmetries while employing quite varied ways of reaching a state of abstraction.
An outstanding example of how historical processes can be boiled down to their essence by means of poetic montage. Dovzhenko emphasizes that in the face of the "giganticness" of the events, it was the task of film to "push together the material under the pressure of many different atmospheres"... A structure of visual echoes enables the pre-revolutionary era and the time of the First World War to reverberate.