Friday, January 27, 2006

The White Diamond (2005)

Moving portrait of a man obsessed (more Woodcarver Steiner than Grizzly Man) from suddenly-ubiquitous filmmaker Werner Herzog. The film is ostensibly about airship constructor Graham Dorrington, driven by a dark past event to build his ships (the scene where he stares into the camera and relates that event is a heartbreaker). Imperceptibly, though, Herzog shifts the focus so that the film eventually ends up about Dorrington's surroundings as much as Dorrington himself. There's the contrast: Dorrington, outwardly jovial, is forever on the edge of falling to pieces, while the rain forest around him is serene and unchanging. It always has been and always will be -- the river will run, the waterfall will pour, and the birds will always hide behind it. When the two elements (Dorrington and nature) finally mesh, it's majestic. Exquisitely filmed and undeniably triumphant, yet nature remains implacable (this shares a bit more ground with Grizzly Man than it first appears).

Grade: A-


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