Tony (tectactoe)’s review published on Letterboxd:
Second viewing, no change ; great stuff, but for the second time, it doesn't appear to me as the masterpiece so many others claim. And that's perfectly fine -- I'm not even going to argue my point beyond a personal distaste because ultimately, that's what it comes down to. In short : despite being significantly more Avant Garde and internally terrorizing than many Bergman dramas, it's still crammed with a significant amount of self-philosophizing monologue and belabored, existentialist regurgitations. Then again, when you consider that the film's premise is readymade for this type of delivery (i.e., only two main protagonists, staying in an isolated location, one of them rendered mute), it's not nearly as devitalizing as it easily could have been. The single instance when "monologue" is used to amazing effect is Alma's recount of a salacious encounter on the beach -- can't immediately call to mind a Bergman excerpt that sounds nearly as fluid, heartfelt, or real, instead of merely a recitation of memorized passages. Genuinely love the abstract stuff e.g. the opening five minutes -- which honestly might be one of my Top Ten film scenes ever -- the mid-film reel skip, the unidentified nighttime couplings between Elisabet and Alma (even filtered with a cloudy aura), etc. and once again found the repeated passage tiresome in execution (going through the whole exercise twice is absolutely not necessary to achieve maximum effect). Notice, too, that the shot of the film crew at the end is indeed not the PERSONA film crew (viz., it's not Bergman bluntly breaking the fourth-wall), rather I think it's a flashback to Elisabet's days as an actress (there's a quick cut to her in her movie makeup just before the film crew appears). Anyway, I really think this is a great film. Just not The Greatest Film.