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Reel Deal: Mysteries of Lisbon

The critical round up of the newest releases for your one-stop viewing pleasure

Published on December 8th 2011.

Reel Deal: Mysteries of Lisbon

Average rating:3.5 Star


Here's what the critics are saying...


5/5 stars
By Peter Bradshaw for the Guardian

"It could be that Ruiz has some kind of satirical relationship with his source material, that he has taken its preposterous intricacy and, entirely deadpan, constructed from it a meditation on the arbitrariness of fate and the unknowability of the past. Or perhaps he has just found in it the ideal basis for a gorgeous, mesmeric spectacle, and one with great human warmth. Either way, for those with open minds, the cinema of Ruiz offers enormous and unique pleasure."


4/5 stars
By David Parkinson for Empireonline.com

“Storytelling of breathtaking scale and grandeur, even if the complex plotting may twist your synapses along the way.”


3/5 stars
By Joe Walsh for Cine-vue.com

"There is no denying that Ruiz has achieved a great feat of cinema with his final film. Utilising the contrasting landscapes of Portugal, Italy and Brazil as backdrops – and interior scenes of drawing rooms draped in gold and all manner of refinement – the painterly manner of the film is very pleasurable on the eye. One also can't help but be impressed by the sheer effort it must have taken for Ruiz to engage with this amount of material Branco's novel has thrown at him."


5/5 stars
By David Jenkins for Time Out

Endlessly discursive yet always controlled and compelling, Mysteries of Lisbon examines the complexities of love and marriage while assuring that secrets exist only to be revealed and that the course of our lives is constantly manipulated by the tiny, off-hand desires of others.


3/5 stars
By Tom Dawson for Total Film

“Expect countless stolen identities, romantic betrayals and aristocratic female beauties, all ravishingly shot on DV. It’s certainly no easy task keeping track of the characters amid multiple flashbacks and shifting points of view, but this is spellbinding cinema, handled with flair by late Chilean director Raúl Ruiz.”


2/5 stars
By Courtney Howard for VeryAware.com

“The movie version runs an engaging but plodding four and a half hours.  Had it been shown the way it was intentionally shot to air – spread out over the course of six nights – the film would have been more palatable.”


3.5/5 stars
By top film critic Roger Ebert

“I got a little lost while watching Mysteries of Lisbon and enjoyed the experience. It's a lavish, elegant, operatic, preposterous nineteenth century melodrama, with characters who change names and seemingly identities, and if you could pass a quiz on its stories within stories, you have my admiration.”

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