• Stunning debut McQueen- up there with the best of the 21st century
  • McQueen clearly shows off his art background- he does fine some amazing visuals in the most squalor of settings and utilizing whatever resources at his disposal here- a prison cell, cafeteria, hallway, hospital room—using foulness like blood, feces, urine, as his tools- it’s remarkable
  • Visceral, formally rigorous and brutal in its depiction
  • Fassbender doesn’t show up for 26 minutes- odd structure that absolutely works
  • 17 minute continuous unbroken shot—priest and Fassbender in a dialogue sequence. Camera is sedentary—it’s bold—not sure it entirely lands—the writing in that scene is brilliant- that helps—it’s well acted and good writing. And it’s jolting when McQueen chooses to break. We get the foal story directly after this time facing Fassbender and that’s a longish-take tool. Awesome filmmaking
  • The opening is on a prison guard- again an odd choice- but we juxtaposed his warm home with Fassbender’s Sands—he’s eating a magnificent breakfast. Then we get the first of three bloody knuckles into the water shots (form!) and a snowflake
  • Snowflake on a bruised knuckle later. Beautiful
  • McQueen shows the guard again in soft focus- he’s losing it—and McQueen shows this without dialogue
  • The prison wall- covered in feces—is clearly done by an artist- it fits this film
  • Elliptical editing, strange angles, I love it- McQueen also has Bressonian focus on hands and feet
  • The hall shot with the pools of urine coming out- he goes back to it again- it’s wonderfully done- great filmmaking
  • Bloods, maggots, vomit, sores, bloody toilets- its formally and thematically so well crafted
  • 30 minutes in with almost no dialogue—and it’s fantastically well done
  • Fassbender- I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned him yet. Weight-loss but it’s more than just a gimmick. He’s dynamic.
  • Formally the film goes silent—big long dialogue shot— then back again to silent
  • Hallway urine shot 3x- stays there longer later as they clean it up- another breathtaking long take- I would’ve gone even longer
  • Don’t love going to the voice over late
  • He also goes to twilight birds at the end- a beautiful image- I believe it’s set up at least once before. So formally sound
  • Must-See top 5 of the year quality