sprizzle’s review published on Letterboxd:
The next Stanley Kubrick? I don't think we'll ever get another Kubrick...But I do think I'm okay with having a Jonathan Glazer.
Glazer is an extremely visual director. In that regard, he is very similar to Kubrick. Every sequence is more focused on the frame than what is going on inside of it. Without context, every shot can be pulled out and it's art. The story is forced to work around the frame and the movie pulls much of it's tension from the space created by the director. To say he's brilliant may be jumping the gun...But I've seen two films so far from Glazer that have blown me away.
Birth is closer to a Lars Von Trier pic than it is Kubrick. It's a fantasy driven, drama that doesn't need to be explained. The premise alone is a dark. Nicole Kidman plays the lead who has lost her husband. A young boy shows up ten years down the road and claims to be the re-incarnated Sean, her long lost significant other. It's a story that's only possible if you believe in those sort of ghosts. Sean shows up detailing information that only a deceased person has access to, and it makes everyone question their reality. It doesn't try to pass itself off as believable and it doesn't have to. Sean continues to become more and more invasive, like a bug. He gets under the skin of all the characters and you just can't ignore him on the screen. It's just a fantastic idea for a movie.
I hadn't really done much research into this film before I watched it. Apparently it was very controversial at the time of it's release. After watching that's really easy to understand. There are some really questionable scenes between Kidman and the child's character played by Cameron Bright. Glazer was basically forced to detail his methods for shooting such controversial scenes. Hearing his explanations put my mind at ease.
I think Kidman said it best with, "I wanted to make a film where you understand love." It's a film about love that in every aspect exudes beauty. The soundtrack, the cinematography, the incredibly passionate performance from the lead actress. Glazer is a director that realizes how important the little things are. And in this movie almost all the little things are in order, along with the big things.
39% on Rotten Tomatoes. Give him a few more pictures and I think most reviewers will start to change their tune. It's criminally underrated, but at least now I have this to add to my collection of "Great Movies You May Not Have Seen" list. I'm not sure it will be there for long though because I fully intend on telling everyone that's willing to listen to watch this movie as soon as possible.