Silent Light

A redefinition of insufferable, writer-director Carlos Reygadas’s nearly two hour and twenty minute non-epic, which is about a farming community of blond Europeans who’ve migrated to northern Mexico, finds poetry in such things as a John Deere tractor parked in a garage. See how tall and imposing the tractor is –- it’s so magnificent, why doesn’t someone take it for a spin, the movie seems to ask. Reygadas, somewhat like Vincent Gallo in The Brown Bunny, shows a fondness for photographing gray storm clouds and two-lane blacktops through the wide enclosure of a pick-up truck windshield. No one can accuse Reygadas of not being a visual stylist: Silent Light opens with a genuinely dazzling long take of the dark heavens, as starry night yields in circling, tilting camera motions to an ochre sunrise infiltrating the distant horizon, and then to the gradual dawn of day, as red clouds fade to white. The sound effects that accompany this, of cows lowing, are superb.

It’s the human element that escapes Reygadas. He can’t create characters, and he can’t tell a story. The story he tries to tell feels like a rejected draft of a doomed collaboration between . . .

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