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Movie Review: Samsara

99 minutes of beautiful cinematography, 0 minutes of talking

Photo courtesy of Oscilloscope Pictures

November 3, 2012 | 12:00 p.m. CST

For viewers looking for a movie that is easy to follow, this is not it. With absolutely no dialogue, Ron Fricke's new documentary, Samsara, takes viewers across 25 countries showing the common links such as poverty, beauty and religion among various cultures.

Because of the jarring transitions between nature and urban life, it is clear that Fricke’s point is to show how materialistic the world has become.

There is no doubt that the cinematography in this film is beautiful, even breathtaking at times. However, the amount of time lapse in the film gets redundant very quickly. The purpose behind it is obvious, showing the fast-paced modern world, but there is only so much a person can take in 99 minutes. Time lapse is cool, especially at night, but isn't there another technique that could be thrown in every now and then?

Any shot of the natural world is held for what seems like an incredibly long time. The shots show the vast beauty of the world, but viewers have absolutely no idea where anything takes place — unless they are one of the few to recognize that the volcano shown in the beginning of the film is from Hawaii or that CPDRC stands for Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, a correctional and rehabilitation center in the Philippines that specializes in mass inmate dances.

Despite its flaws, Samsara does have some strong points. The score compliments each movement perfectly, and many of these moments leave a lasting effect on viewers. The scenes involving how food gets from the farm to the table are especially disgusting.

Overall the film isn't horrible, but it isn’t exactly fabulous either. For viewers looking to get into a deep state of meditation though, this is probably one of the better movies.

Vox Rating: V V

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