Cannes Film Festival 2012: 18th May Reactions Part 1 (‘Jimmy P.’, ‘The Dance of Reality’, ‘Grand Central’, ‘Bite the Dust’)

Alejandro Jodorowsky

Alejandro Jodorowsky

We’re now either on day three or four, depending on who you ask. Heavyweight Inside Llewyn Davis arrives later tonight courtesy of the returning Coen Brothers. And there’s also the ‘Second Coming’ of Jodorowsky, whose Dance of Reality screens over at Directors’ Fortnight this morning. Other offerings include Frank Pavich’s Jodorowsky’s Dune and Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P., which has just played to largely negative reviews. Didn’t look like my cup of tea, either.


Mark Adams, Screen Daily

“The issues in their characters’ background are touched on but never exploited (racism around Jimmy’s Native American ancestry or Devereux’s Hungarian Jewish background), with Desplechin letting the gently developing relationship drive the story rather than any obvious dramatic devices.”

Geoff Andrew, Time Out London

“It meanders along, often feeling a little inconsequential but somehow managing to remain interesting throughout.”

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

“Its strongest element is a convincing portrait of psychotherapy in the early 50s, making for a compelling enough reason to seek this film out if you are interested in this practice. However, for the rest of us, Jimmy P. will leave you wondering what could have driven someone to want to make this film.”

Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

“Had the story been told in a way that gave us a greater connection to Jimmy and his past this is a statement the audience could have latched on to and used to draw comparisons to their own lives. It could have turned the feature into a heartbreaking look at the past and how it has affected us in the future. Unfortunately it lands with a dull thud.”

Scott Foundas, Variety

“While onscreen therapy is hardly a novelty in the era of “The Sopranos,” “In Treatment” and David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method,” few films have focused so intently on the minutiae of psychoanalysis as Desplechin does here — an uncompromising strategy that will undoubtedly distance some viewers while drawing others further in.”

Alex Griffith, Next Projection

“One would think co-writer Kent Jones, a brilliant writer on film and American cultural history, would create a more history-heavy American West, caught between its frontier past and 1950s modernity. Alas, the dialogue is functional at best and hopelessly hokey at worst (the line “Hey soldier” is used at least twice).”

Jake Howell, Movie City News

“The film could have been improved with another pass on the script, which is riddled with supporting lines that sound plastic and chunky. Further tipping the boat is Desplechin’s fraudulent exposition, cheating us with characters who tell us the story to our faces—and barely to the other characters—without any attempt to keep things natural.”

Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

“The largely interior, dialogue intensive picture sometimes veers into feeling like a TV movie (not helped by Howard Shore‘s often overbearing, obvious score) with its static visuals, but strong turns by Del Toro and Amalric (who thankfully ditches a sea of quirks early on, and settles into the part) at least keep things engaging, even if the narrative remains stuck in neutral for large chunks of the film.”

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

“It occasionally touches on the politics of the era, suggesting that Jimmy’s ailments might be the product of a the malaise experienced by the entire American Indian nation, but like so much else here, the idea is just dropped in there and allowed to float off into the darkness.”

Guy Lodge, Hit Fix

“Certainly, neither its doughy structure nor its vague, tin-eared evocation of post-WWII middle America are a immediately indicative of a passion project that Desplechin has reportedly been nurturing for over two decades: we’re always plagued the longest by the problems we have the least natural ability to solve, and that’s a pearl of psychiatric wisdom you can have for free.”

Catherine Shoard, The Guardian

“For what it’s worth, Del Toro – though he does look inescapably Hispanic – emerges with a few shreds of dignity. But perhaps it’s simply the sympathy talking; that brow-clutching and groaning and desperate sweating does mirror audience experience. “How much longer do I have to stay here?” he enquires of a nurse at one point. You ask her, Jim, ask for us all.”

Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

“Devereux’s Freudian methodology—with its diagnostic insistence on literalizing dreams—finds a complement in Desplechin’s jittery aesthetic. Every image is at once abstract and banal, stretched rack-like between reality and fantasy.”

Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

“The whole project is saved largely thanks to the subtext of ethnic discrimination that runs through the film, and two riveting central performances, which overcome a wobbly start to find emotional balance by the final reel.”


Ryland Aldrich, Twitch Film

JIMMY P: PSYCHOTHERAPY OF A PLAINS INDIAN makes a few missteps & could lose 30, but perfs by Benicio & Amalric make it worth effort.

Geoff Andrew, Sight & Sound

Arnaud Desplechin’s JIMMY P a likeable, intelligent if meandering case history of psychotherapy in postwar USA. Del Toro is good

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

We officially have the first dud in the main comp, Jimmy P is an uninspired look at the psychoanalysis of a war vet Indian.

John Bleasdale, Cine-Vue

The Psychotherapy of Jimmy P. A handsome well acted but oddly dramatic period drama

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian) (dir. Arnaud Desplechin) has the most laborious and unconvincing performances here

Catherine Bray, Film4

Okay, I wasn’t going to say anything, but I can’t seem to hold back: Jimmy P was an embarrassing watch. Blurgh. Disappointing.

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P. is a handsome, earnest psychotherapy drama that just doesn’t stand out in a strong comp line-up

Adam Cook, Cinemezzo

A lively turn from Mathieu Amalric can’t rescue Desplechin’s bland & confused JIMMY P.

Mark Cosgrove, Watershed

Desplechin’s Jimmy P is intriguing story but fails ultimately to engage or excite despite excellent leads Del Toro n Amalric

Jordan Cronk, Slant

JIMMY P (A. Desplechin): Traditional biopic dressed up with dream sequences and minor insight. Competent but flat. B-

Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club

Jimmy P.: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian (Desplechin): 35. I was not expecting to leave this film thinking fondly of GOOD WILL HUNTING.

Peter Debruge, Variety

JOHNNY P. (Arnaud Desplechin, 2013), – 4/10

A Native American war vet suffering from post-traumatic “sparkle vision” sees a French shrink in this taxingly straightforward case study.

Glenn Heath Jr., Press Play

JIMMY P (C+/B-): Rather middling & flaccid, but also respectful of words and ideas and goodbyes. A hangout movie with no energy.

Logan Hill, New York Times

More nod-offs than walk-outs at somnambulant, half-baked therapy film Jimmy P, which could learn a few things from In Treatment.

Jordan Hoffman, Film.com

Desplechain’s JIMMY P is a full-on dud. Very disappointing.

Jake Howell, Movie City News

JIMMY P: a saggy mess of terrible dialogue and uneven performances. del Toro works – shame the rest of the film doesn’t. A dud.

Peter Howell, Toronto Star

JIMMY P: Way too talky & pulse-free, trauma drama fails to exploit Del Toro/Almaric pairing. Desplechin non-starter.

Nick James, Sight & Sound

THE PSYCHOTHERAPY OF A PLAINS INDIAN is exactly that, a case history talkfest with intriguing dream interludes….

…Charming and wistful and sometimes soporific with variable perfs though Del Toro is always good

Dustin Jansick, Way Too Indie

was well acted but nothing else stood out about it, especially the path the story stayed on.

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

JIMMY P (Desplechin) Wispy psychoanalysis drama in which AP appears to be repressing all his considerable strengths as a filmmaker.

Craig Kennedy, Living in Cinema

Desplechin’s Jimmy P was definitely a rough sit, Almaric/Del Toro combo was great, but it never quite came together for me

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

Arnaud Desplechin’s English-language Jimmy P. (Psychoanalysis of a Plains Indian) heartful shrink drama w Almaric and Del Toro in top form

Eric Lavallee, Ion Cinema

Jimmy P. I’m fine w/out the huge emotional strokes, but I’m not used to a Desplechin film being lifeless…too quiet & subdued.

Guy Lodge, Hit Fix

First real clanger of the Competition, and from one of my favourite directors in it, too. What’s French for “bummed out”?

Kate Muir, The Times

Enough already with the “tell me about your childhood” in the clunky Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian damp squib

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

Jimmy P – 3/5. Stately, well acted tale musters intermittent intrigue though dry as a bone and emotionally vague

David Neary, Next Projection

Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian: Lethargic, almost pretty drama. Fails to deliver much insight into therapy or Native Americans.

Michal Oleszczyk, RogerEbert.com

JIMMY P. 7/10 Desplechin enters KING’S SPEECH territory with subtelty, but the material is painfully old-fashioned. Good perfs and editing.

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com

Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P is based on an actual psychiatric study from 1948. It feels that clinical, even with solid perfs.

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

Desplechin’s JIMMY P, surprisingly classic as if he’d set out to make Un Grand Film Americain a la Clint Eastwood…

But it really won me over, deepens intriguingly. Best line, to Amalric: “don’t be exuberant.” Quite.


Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“The film is oddly moving for what it conceals, or accidentally reveals: the director’s very real, understandable emotions of pain and regret on the subject of his father, and how these emotions are being managed and contained with surrealist mythologising. In this movie, the director is bidding farewell to his past, and to his childhood, and perhaps to the world. It is an arresting spectacle.”

Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter

“The Dance of Reality is a rich pageant of nostalgic narcissism laced with New Age mysticism and fortune-cookie wisdom: “someone is dreaming us, embrace the illusion.” At its most inspired, Jodorowsky’s episodic jumble of restaged childhood memories conjurs up a movingly biographical effect akin to Fellini, Bergman, Peter Greenaway or even Gabriel Garcia Marquez.”

Scott Foundas, Variety

“At more than two hours, “The Dance of Reality” unquestionably has its longueurs, but on balance it is alive with enough images and ideas for several movies — as if Jodorowsky were afraid he might have to wait 20 more years before making another.”

Ben Kenigsberg, RogerEbert.com

“Despite a sometimes slapdash look — the low-fi seagull effects are just this side of “Birdemic” — it’s hard not to find this sort of controlled chaos endearing, certainly not when it’s peppered with as much affection and warmth as it is here.”

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“Some bits hold together better than others, but Jodorowsky’s investment in the material imbues the drama with emotional consistency. Equal parts autobiographical nostalgia trip and flamboyant B-movie, “The Dance of Reality” overcomes occasionally weak production values with the filmmaker’s clear-cut passion.”

Craig Skinner, Hey U Guys

“Jodorowsky has crafted a beautiful bricolage which is both easy to digest and engage with and also unlike anything you have seen before. An absolute marvel.”


Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

Jordorowsky’s Dance of Reality is full of the wacky madness you would expect yet is also perhaps his most straight forward film

Alex Billington, First Showing

As weird/surreal as Jodorowsky’s autobiographical half-opera fable is, had to finish. When the hell am I ever going to see anything like it?

Xan Brooks, The Guardian

This yr’s Paperboy award for urinating-on-the-hero goes to Jodorowsky’s Le Danza de le Realidad. Just one of its many treasures

Jordan Cronk, Slant

LA DANZA DE LA REALIDAD (A. Jodorowsky) Amputees, transvestites, Nazis, golden showers, black face. A total mess, as expected. D

Jordan Hoffman, Film.com

Jodorowsky’s DANCE OF REALITY is his AMACORD – straightforward by his standards, but still quite a trip.

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

LA DANZA DE LA REALIDAD (Jodorowsky) Madballs. Like 1900 on bluies. Rough around the edges & naff CG, but a brassy romp.

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

Jodorworky’s fun, messy, crazy DANCE OF REALITY is a messy, crazy return to form. Sustained by his intimacy w/material.

Craig Skinner, Hey U Guys

DANZA DE LA REALIDAD (A-) A heightened autobiography told with wit, imagination & passion.A complex bricolage & a marvel. Jodorowsky’s back!

Unsurprisingly the content of Jodorowsky’s latest may be shocking to some but he’s certainly not lacking in morals, just many inhibitions.

Don’t expect to necessarily see an uncut version of LA DANZA DE LA REALIDAD in the UK. The urination scene probably guarantees we won’t.

Blake Williams, Indiewire

THE DANCE OF REALITY (3.4): A digital Jodorowsky picture. Your mileage shouldn’t vary but the divisive responses indicate it may.

Damon Wise, Empire

I don’t know quite what to say about Jodorowsky’s Danza De La Realidad…


John Bleasdale, Cine-Vue

“The plight of the workers is symptomatic of a society that’s exploiting its most marginalised young men to carry out the dirty work that is central to its economy. And yet, this isn’t another exercise in miserablist social realism.”

Xan Brooks, The Guardian

“Rebecca Zlotowski’s picture works best when it’s at its most stark and unadorned, when it focuses on the dirty nuts and bolts near the nuclear core.”

Gregory Ellwood, Hit Fix

“While Zlotowski benefits from the presence of a number of critically acclaimed French actors this is the sort sophomore jump that will cement her status as one to watch within the global filmmaking community.”

Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

“Set among the exploited blue-collar workers at a nuclear power plant in France, the story certainly has an unusual setting, which Zlotowski depicts with an almost Loach-ian attention to unfussy, everyday detail. But the torrid love affair that develops against this largely realistic backdrop between two good-looking colleagues (played by blonde bombshell Léa Seydoux and A Prophet’s Tahar Rahim), is too bombastic and clichéd for the film to ever become a single whole.”

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

“The film does stumble in its very final moments, opting for an ambivalent ending that lacks the narrative confidence of what had come before. But it’s not the most important thing, and the overriding impression we come away with is much more of the film’s quiet intelligence and empathy up to that point.”

Lee Marshall, Screen Daily

“Perhaps it’s the director’s too eager reaching for universals that undermines the authority of the story and the bite of the drama – but Grand Central represents a worthy attempt to pull of a difficult combo.”


John Bleasdale, Cine-Vue

Grand Central: Brilliant drama based on the experiences of workers at the dirty end of the Nuclear industry

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Grand Central (dir. Rebecca Zlotowski) is a gripping, occult story of radiation-sickness and love-sickness with a great score

Adam Cook, Cinemezzo

Rebecca Zlotowski’s GRAND CENTRAL is a disappointment… None of the promise shown in DEAR PRUDENCE is present

Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club

Grand Central (Zlotowski): W/O. I’m 0-for-2 on Ms. Z so far. Details of working in a nuclear power plant are fascinating; nothing else is.

William Goss, MSN Movies

Grand Central: hey, ever notice how a sordid love affair is basically like a nuclear meltdown? A melodrama more tedious than tense.

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

Grand Central – 3.5/5. Sexy, wholly unusual romance girded by constant suspense and rock-solid performances

Michal Oleszczyk, RogerEbert.com

GRAND CENTRAL 6/10 Well-paced story of self-destruction; good enough to register, way too conventional to linger in my mind.

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

Rececca Zlotowski’s GRAND CENTRAL: Tahir Rahim and Lea Seydoux terrific in a taut drama about nuclear power workers.

…Basically, you don’t want to be a nuclear power worker.


Leslie Felperin, Variety

“What actually happens at the end remains unclear, but honestly, who cares?”

Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

“Domestic audiences might raise a guffaw at the antics of these rural characters as they chaotically prepare for the end of the world in their remote riverside hamlet, but elsewhere this is marginal festival fare at best.”


Nick James, Sight & Sound

Russian farces like BITE THE DUST always seems like Beckett with bad jokes and drunken screeching

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

Bite the Dust – 1.5/5. Lame-brained apocalyptic dramedy is plenty silly but not funny. It says a lot the best character is a cow

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