Salt and Fire Screen 54 of 6 reviews

Salt and Fire

2016

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  • On paper the premise doesn’t sound particularly riveting, but sure enough Herzog’s continued thematic exploration of the often fraught cohabitation between man and nature comes through.

  • I am not actually sure this film isn’t entirely a comedy through and through. With its arch-stilted dialog... Salt and Fire seems intentionally torpid and generally vague about what's at stake in the supposed earthly catastrophe that Shannon oversaw and Ferres is coming to study.

  • A painful slog for its first half or so, Werner Herzog’s Salt and Fire suddenly becomes perplexingly hypnotic and arresting. In other words, it becomes a Herzog film... The magic begins to take hold, and by the end I was wondering if the film’s first half wasn’t meant as a self-consciously labored mockery of “ecological thrillers,” mere scaffolding for the German director’s more intuitive images and discoveries.

  • The film exudes the same cozy in-joke insularity as My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, which all suggest that the filmmaker is simultaneously parodying and straight-facedly emulating a lesser Herzog impersonator.

  • No one else has the same ability to make the alienating so thoroughly hypnotic, and gradually, Herzog manages to tie even the most distracted asides into the whole... This is the first narrative film Herzog has made since Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans to show that he still has stories of his own to tell, and the final act is one of the strongest sustained sequences of cinema he's crafted in some time.

  • The first half may aim to be a two-hander in the realm of one of David Hare’s political dramas, and the second half a cockeyed Crusoe adventure, but neither section coheres or for a single moment sounds credible. Worst of all, Ferres, who obviously can’t act in English, is in every scene. Shannon, who has managed well with Herzog before in My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, appears this time more lost than the German soldier at the end of Herzog’s Lebenszeichen. It ain’t a pretty sight.

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