Mark Fleischmann
December 06, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

Confidential Report (Mr. Arkadin)

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
93 minutes
performer
Michael Redgrave, Orson Welles, Gert Frobe, Akim Tamiroff
director
Orson Welles
distributor
Criterion
author
Orson Welles
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it an A-

Substitute Metallica for the mile-a-minute dialogue in this breathlessly paced Welles thriller, and Confidential Report (Mr. Arkadin) just might pass for an arty film-school music video. The knotty plot in Confidential Report hinges on the lost youth of the title character, Welles’ enigmatic financier-amnesia victim, though the ostensibly dramatic ending is blown because director-screenwriter-star Welles splashes it all over the movie’s opening frames. Welles seduces the viewer by fostering a we-are-all-actors-together camaraderie that recalls earlier and greater pictures, and he whips the camera around in an expressionist frenzy, lunging for every morsel of grotesquerie he can find, from papier-mache bats to festival masks. Criterion’s laserdisc (which includes no supplementary material) is the first U.S. video release of this Anglo-Spanish coproduction’s European edit — the one Welles preferred for its fidelity to the flashback story structure of his original cut. A-

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