Video Review

Wittgenstein; Blue (1995)

MPAA Rating: Unrated

Details Movie Rated: Unrated; Genre: Drama

Until his AIDS-related death in 1994, gay British filmmaker Derek Jarman churned out challenging but hard-to-take films. Accordingly, Wittgenstein, a quirky series of stagy biographical sketches about the philosopher who revolutionized logic, doesn't exactly smack of cinema. But its structure — which has the thinker as a boy discussing his life with a midget Martian — is so cleverly surreal it makes Fellini look like Ron Howard. Blue is even less conventional, but more effective. For 76 minutes, over a static blue screen, Jarman and three of his actors voice his musings about his growing sightlessness and slow death, to the accompaniment of a moody, ethereal score. Ironically, the director's least visual movie ever becomes his most compellingly watchable. Wittgenstein: C; Blue: A-

Originally posted Nov 10, 1995 Published in issue #300 Nov 10, 1995 Order article reprints

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