Delta (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner07/05/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Beautifully shot, occasionally stunning Hungarian drama, but it's also painfully slow, grimly predictable and unlikely to appeal to anyone other than hardcore arthouse devotees.

What's it all about?
Directed by Kornel Mundruzco, Delta is set in the present on the Danube delta and stars Felix Lajko as an estranged son who returns home to his mother (Lili Monori), her new lover (Sandor Gaspar) and his grown-up half-sister (Orsi Toth). Not wishing to annoy her lover, the mother tells her son there's no room for him, so he decides to build a wooden house in the middle of the delta, on the site of his father's old hut.

However, tensions continue to rise in the house, especially after the son ignores the lover's attempts to prevent him from transporting the timber he needs. Shortly afterwards, the sister announces that she's moving in with her half-brother and the two begin a sexual relationship, angering both the lover and the local community.

The Good
Delta is remarkably similar to the recent Wonderful Town, only with the added frisson of an incestuous relationship. Both films feature beautifully shot, lengthy takes with very little dialogue and both films feature waterside communities being angered by the central couple's relationship.

The film is at least interesting for its unusual treatment of the incest taboo; the two main characters don't tear themselves up over it and don't even really discuss it, so that it feels more like the two kindest characters in the film reaching out and making a human connection, rather than something shocking or provocative.

The Bad
Mundruczo orchestrates some genuinely stunning sequences, including a horrific scene shot entirely in long shot and a violent climax that's both sickening and beautifully photographed at the same time. The film also includes the best performance by a turtle in recent memory.

That said, Delta drags considerably in the middle section and the minimal dialogue eventually becomes frustrating. Similarly, the climax is both predictable and depressing.

Worth seeing?
Delta is definitely worth seeing but its glacial pacing and minimal dialogue may limit its appeal outside of the arthouse circuit.

Film Trailer

Delta (18)
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Content updated: 18/12/2017 06:54

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