Spoor Screen 56 of 12 reviews

Spoor

2017

Spoor Poster
  • One of the best titles in the festival... It soon settles in on Janina (a fantastic Agnieszka Mandat), a retired engineer who lives in the countryside in near-isolation with the two dogs she considers her surrogate children. When they go missing, she sets off on a weird, occasionally funny and increasingly violent journey into assorted hearts of darkness — hers and others’ — that is as emotionally powerful as it is political.

  • Holland lights up this idiosyncratic “metaphysical thriller” set in the Polish mountains with a playful, anarchic spirit and taste for the absurd.

  • A delightful, unique film that juxtaposes humans against those which are being captured, bristling with the omnipresent threat of death and the staggering beauty of life and regeneration. Mandat turns in a sensational performance as the declarative, empathetic heroine who fights the good fight...and wins.

  • Ultimately Spoor’s final act feels a little silly, though the weight of its implications in regards to the rest of the film holds some weight. The final moments reflect on the film’s opening sequence which presented Janina’s routine as a natural Elysium where she lived in perfect bliss with her animals. The gestures of the natural world, in particular, the creeping light of the morning sun, are dashed in the still depiction of proud and reckless violence.

  • We’re never sure when the story’s killer is going to strike, as the filmmaker devotes a refreshing amount of time to regarding the everyday routines of her characters, in work and repose. When the killer does attack, then, it feels like an authentic violation, as we’ve been apprised of the particular status quo that’s in disarray.

  • With its striking compositions and virtuoso aerial shots, the film often looks to become a politically inflected thriller – not to mention a celebration of the kind of elderly woman rarely granted central or heroic status in the movies. For all its generic trappings, however, the film – which kicks off with the heroine, a devout astrologer, predicting what will occur according to the inexorable truths of the horoscope – has a strong whiff of mysticism and allegory.

  • On Body and Soul builds to something of an emotional climax, but is marred by the continuous indecisiveness of the director, uncertain whether she is making a work of mundane kitchen-sink realism or eccentric surrealism – whether, that is, she should take the path of Loach or Buñuel. The same tension – and the same presence of deer – characterised another Eastern European entry in the competition, Agnieszka Holland’s Pokot (Spoor).

  • Beautifully photographed and aurally matched by a magnificent score, Spoor is let down by its far-fetched premise of a woman who values animal welfare over the humanity of ‘evil’ men. One step too deep into deranged fantasy realism for my liking. At least listened to on the Palast’s suitably loud speakers, the rousing score will stay with me when the story fades to black in my cine-memory.

  • Noirish imagery contributes to the atmosphere, and sweeping camera movements suggest there's more to the story than meets the eye. But the oddball characters and twisty narrative seem almost surrealistically implausible, and the utopian conclusion, apparently a response to right-wing politics in Poland, seemed nutty to me.

  • Not the simplistic animal-welfare tract it initially appears to be, but by the end I was feeling nostalgic for that assumption. Holland (collaborating here with her daughter, though most of the reviews from Berlin ignore that for some reason) is entirely the wrong director for a project that—whatever the nature of the source novel, unread by me—seems as if it would only work onscreen as pulp horror.

  • My choice for the most awful film I’ve seen in the festival’s press screenings, Agnieszka Holland’s “Spoor,” is a bizarre, semi-coherent tale of ecological activism in Poland. A friend called it “ridiculous rubbish,” a sentiment that accorded with the grumblings I heard from others.

  • Holland tries to make a completely new type of thriller and point out every possible social problem whilst at it. As ever with quests that ambitious, it falls flat on its stomach, and leaves one to laugh in the sort of pitying way an artist never strives for.

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