Tabu (2012)

Tabu Movie Review

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Tabu Movie Review

Tabu is a 2012 Portuguese drama film directed by Miguel Gomes. It is such a unique, but ultimately very boring movie.

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Those who claim time heals all wounds have never loved as much as I have

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The film is split into two parts and there lies its biggest problem. The second part has such a strong adventurous tone to it and it works wonders as a flashback as it tells you the whole life story wonderfully and in a really charming way. But that first part is the opposite – it is uninteresting, very slow and very typical, everything that the second part fixed. I wish that the whole movie was like the second part as I also found that first one to be entirely unnecessary for the story of the film.

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Tabu Movie Review

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Tabu does not focus on characters and therefore it doesn’t have any acting in it for the most part. The film is told through a flashback with narration and it was an interesting experience as the characters did not speak and sometimes I felt that I was watching a silent movie. This movie is an obvious homage to the silent cinema. However, even though I found that approach to be incredibly bold and original, that still led to a somewhat dull, very slow movie that bored me for more than a couple of times.

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Tabu Movie Review

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Tabu is a technically astounding piece of work. Everything here is stupendous. The photography is great and the natural scenery is just mesmerizing. But I adored its black-and-white photography as it was very different in its two parts, stylistically speaking. But I liked that lighter approach later on much more. The film really is beautiful to watch. It is almost groundbreaking in terms of its cinematography and approach to its storytelling, both of which are highly unique.

The tone of Tabu is also really pleasant. I liked that it was a docudrama with a strong documentary approach, but it also contained some really heartwarming, moving moments here and there. I just wish that there was more of that emotion. The film is also very artistic and its narration, although telling a typical and somewhat boring life story, is still well done and is suitable for this kind of film. This is a rare film where narration strengthens the product as I am usually not fond of that plot device. The same goes for its flashback.

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Tabu Movie Review

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The directing is strong, but its pacing is too slow and the film would have benefited from a shorter running time and a bigger emphasis on its flashback. I would have got rid of that first part as that would have made this movie much, much stronger and much more interesting. Tabu is a charming movie because it does have its heart and its appeal. The score is also good, but the film succeeds as a visual media. That is great because it truly is breathtaking to behold, but that is also a problem as it relies so much on its visual flare that it forgets to develop its story and characters more. What I’m trying to say is that this Portuguese film succeeds as a documentary, but not as a drama. It is an acclaimed movie that is in the end just solid for all of those reasons.

Tabu succeeds as a documentary, but not so much as a drama because its visuals are fantastic with a mesmerizing scenery and gorgeous black-and-white photography and it has its heart and charm, but it is unfortunately too slow and at times boring and its first part is so unnecessary and so inferior to the second one. All of those reasons led to this Portuguese film being a slow, but still an original and unique experience.

My Rating – 3.5

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