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Stars: Tilda Swinton, Elkin Diaz, Jeanne Balibar, Juan Pablo Errego, Agnes Brekke

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

No wonder this is 136 minutes long. The opening shot of curtains last 30 seconds, after which it takes the Swinton character three minutes to get out of bed. From time time, she hears a relentless thumping noise in her head.

There's the ghost of an interesting plot here, but it's overwhelmed by meaningless shots held at considerable length, of things like car parks. And forests. Lots of those. If there's such a thing as an audience-friendly movie, then this is definitely audience-hostile.

In Colombia to visit her sister (Brekke) in hospital, Scottish flowerseller Swinton consults a sound engineer (Diaz) about 'the noise', which he eventually approximates before taking her on a tour of Bogota, and talking about his band, The Depth of Delusion Ensemble. When she returns to the sound studio, no one there has ever heard of him.

Suffice to say that she ends up in the Colombian jungle, where excavation appears to be taking place, digging up mysterious bones - and there's a sci-fi twist at the end.

I'm afraid critics who have raved about this are being deceived by the Emperor's New Clothes syndrome. This terminally slow film has little to offer inside its coating of ravishing photography - apart from a good sleep.

David Quinlan

Colombia/France/Germany/UK 2021. UK Distributor: Sovereign. Colour by Kodak.
136 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 15 Jan 2022