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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
When invited guests arrive for an elegant dinner party and find themselves unable to leave the dining room, Spanish surreal master Luis Bunuel, enters the undeworld of human desires and relations, peeling the crust of the burgoeis thinking and emancipating the subconcious of all the characters. After three days, hunger, thirst and desperation take over, leaving the...
Published on October 11, 1998

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware
Though the film is wonderful, the Criterion edition is disastrous. Something is dreadfully wrong with the soundtrack -- it is very unpleasant to listen to and sounds as though it was digitally sampled and then re-processed at an incompatible bit-rate. Consequently there is a constant in and out between too loud (and distorted) and virtually silent. The same thing is true...
Published on April 7, 2009 by Premingerian


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED., October 11, 1998
By A Customer
When invited guests arrive for an elegant dinner party and find themselves unable to leave the dining room, Spanish surreal master Luis Bunuel, enters the undeworld of human desires and relations, peeling the crust of the burgoeis thinking and emancipating the subconcious of all the characters. After three days, hunger, thirst and desperation take over, leaving the semi-savage guests to undergo a formidable transformation of both, mind and spirit. After hearing the disturbing news, the social institutions (police, army, politicians, even other citizens) are unable to even enter the house, moved by the same invisible force. Filmed in 1962 and considered by many his greatest surreal film after L'age D'or, Exterminating Angel gives Bunuel a chance to go back to his cultural roots of the French Surrealism, not allowing culture, education, religion or other institutions to interfere with the content of characterization but to allow his characters to roam free like dreams or sometimes nightmares in a world of pre-fabricated emotions.
Arthur A. Sabina New York END
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bunuel's BEST - and that's saying quite a lot., August 26, 2004
By 
A brilliant concept if I've ever heard one, Bunuel's finest film involves a group at a dinner party who are inexplicably unable to go home. Absolutely nothing is holding them back -- doors are unlocked, there are no barriers -- but they just can't leave the house. Kind of a precursor to Godard's 1967 masterpiece, WEEKEND, we then witness socialites and the upper-class reduced to barbaric acts of desperation. Although Bunuel claims ANGEL has no literal meaning, his contempt for the rich has never been more obvious, and he would return to similar terrain with 1972's DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE, where dinner guests find themselves unable to sit down and eat. Subtle surreal touches round off this film, as random scenes repeat for absolutely no reason and sheep run about the house; not to mention the frustratingly incomprehensible yet inexplicably appropriate final scenes.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Time Classic, December 31, 2002
The Exterminating Angel is a brilliant movie. Luis Bunuel is one of the few directors to be able to create a completely fascinating world with seemingly mundane ideas. The film is about guests arriving at a dinner party and for various reasons are unable to leave. This simple, but interesting premise illustrates how we do not live our lives in any logical fashion and how the situations with which we are faced are what shape our world not anything as ridiculous as free will. For anyone who can see life as it really is and not brainwashed by our societies propoganda this is the most entertaining movie ever made about human nature. This is not a movie to take a date to it is one to be savored the rest of your life as you watch an innocent situation turn into the most thought provoking film you will ever see. The pace is slow, but in the hands of Bunuel it is also very entertaining and yes funny.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real Surreal, February 7, 2000
For those of you who have never seen a Luis Bunuel film, The Exterminating Angel is both an excellent beginning and one of his very best.
The famous dinner party. The guests that can't leave. The animals (human and otherwise). The dark house. The repeating scenes. All this and more await you.
But it's the camera work that really leaves no doubt that we are seeing the work of a master of masters of the cinema. LB moves right and left, in and out without changing the lens setting, which sets up an erie feeling in perfect relationship to the subject matter of the film. A film not to be missed, and a movie to take a chance on. You won't be disappointed.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterwork, March 3, 2003
The film's central characters are overcome by their bourgeois sense of propriety and, due to pretense, are seemingly trapped in an opulent parlor room by their incapacity to overcome their own outrageous forms of hypocritical propriety. The inability to leave the dinner party first grows to absurd proportions leading to the inability of all attendees to leave at all. They are psychologically impaired and degenerate, slowly, into their basest elements until they realize, collectively, that escape is possible.
Rejecting rationalism, and accessing the unconscious desires of mankind, is at the heart of this film. The constructs of man, the masks of artifice he appropriates, are fashioned out of rationalism and serve to obfuscate reality. Man becomes pretentious, corrupt, immoral, and despondent because he has lost sense of himself. For Buñuel, the bourgeoisie is ripe for attack, given that they shape and determine the values of their society. If our social leaders reject true humanity, then how can society hope to find truth? For Buñuel, humanity cannot thrive under such conditions. Hell is divestiture from the self.
This film is for anyone who enjoys an intelligent and beautiful film (Cinematography by Mexican master Gabriel Figueroa). Buñuel is clearly one of the greatest pillars of modern film.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware, April 7, 2009
This review is from: The Exterminating Angel (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
Though the film is wonderful, the Criterion edition is disastrous. Something is dreadfully wrong with the soundtrack -- it is very unpleasant to listen to and sounds as though it was digitally sampled and then re-processed at an incompatible bit-rate. Consequently there is a constant in and out between too loud (and distorted) and virtually silent. The same thing is true of the Criterion "Honeymoon Killers," of which there is a version available in France that has a perfectly great sounding track. I don't know why such problems surface with our "premium" DVD producer. In any case, paying top dollar for such a technical disaster seems quite unjust.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The shipwrecked people of 13th street, August 30, 2006
Shot in 1962 during his exile in Mexic provoked by the dictatorship of general Franco, " El angel exterminador " is a delicious radiography of the middle-class where the genial spanish filmmaker makes a dissection of their superstitions, rites, falses prejudices and fears with sarcastic humour and his surreal and thought-provoking imaginary. The film had originally to be entitled " Los naufragos de la calle nº 13 ", a very graphic commentary of the pathetic situation of their protagonists, but finally Buñuel prefered the most stimulating and sardonically biblic title of " The exterminating angel ". A group of bourgeoises joined around a supper party refuses obstinately to abandone the room hunted by an irrational panic, becoming so prisioners of themselves in a house whose doors are unlocked and where nobody hold them. Completely defenceless like childs without the help of the servants the time passes in their virtual prison and the masks begin to fall down and their most repressed instints come pathetically untied.

Very, very recommendable.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You know what would be funny? If I pushed you!", November 4, 2005
Imagine, if you will, a group of wealthy Spanish aristocrats arriving at a mansion, having just attended an opera. As they arrive, the servants, well paid and happy with their jobs slip out, one by one. They are needed to attend the guests for the evening, but they just feel a strange compulsion to leave.

The party continues, more or less without incident: some sneaky affairs, some gossip, some conspiring among Freemasons. You know, the usual. The night drags on...and on...and on, but no one leaves the lounge. Some of the guests politely ask to be excused as they have plans the next day, but it isn't long before they find themselves back in the fold of the party, conversing as though nothing was amiss. The host offers the guests prepared bedrooms. Some accept, some don't. But by the ed of the night, everyone in the house except the loyal butler is asleep in the crowded lounge.

The next morning, the guests awake in confusion. Why did they stay the night? They hadn't planned on it. Several guests conclude to put an end to the absurdness and walk toward the door as the butler enters with breakfast. They decide it wouldn't hurt to stay just a little longer.

Things seem to getting very unusual, to say the least. The hostess tells the butler to get spoons to stir the coffee, but when he approaches the door, he freezes in fear.

No one can leave the room!

Why? Because...they just can't! "The only explanation is that it lacks explanation."

Things get more and more desperate as the days limp by and the food runs out. More people grow ill, others grow violent, others kill themselves or simply die.

This is one of the last films of cinematic pioneer Luis Bunuel, whose Un Chien Andalou invented surrealist filmmaking. Unlike Andalou, though, this is a film more about plot and character than about cheap shocks. Is this a better film, though? I don't think so. While it certainly is a functioning thriller and a terrificly profound concept, it doesn't have the same energy or visual invention, and I disliked the ending. The only thing that would've made it complete would be a character's shrug as he says "Here we go again!"

Still, most of the film is truly chilling in its portayal of realism in an absurd situation. I suggest that any fans of weirdness give this one a looking over.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bizarre imprisonment, May 24, 2005
By 
Cory D. Slipman (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Spanish Surrealist film director Luis Bunuel speaks loudly in his criticism of the upper classes in his stunning 1962 film "The Exterminating Angel".

A group of 20 upper crust formally attired guests are invited to attend a post opera dinner in a palatial mansion. Prior to their arrival, the house servants with the exception of the butler, after preparing the meal, inexplicably flee the premises.

The guests, due to some unexplained force find themselves unable to leave the dining room. The proceed to bed down for the night but come the following morning, nobody is able to leave.

Gradually the water and food run out and they are forced to attend to their bodily functions in closets. As time and days pass, tempers flair and they shed all their pretenses and veneers and resort to acting like a pack of animals. If not for some more level headed guests, the threat of resorting to violence among themselves is a very real possibility.

While the guests are unable to leave, outsiders are unable to enter the house. Eventually the house is quarantined by the military.

After days of this strange incarceration the guests find themselves in the exact same positions within the room as when the force first overtook them. They replay their actions and dialogue and if by magic the spell is broken and they can now depart.

Bunuel, always one known for his social commentary, is extremely critical of distinctions formulated by wealth in the creation of a class structure. He portrays this group of cultured and educated people as no better than those in the lowest rungs of society when confronted with specific stimuli.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The real purpose of Surrealism is to explode the social order, to transform life itself", September 6, 2005
The first thing you should know about "The exterminating angel" is that its director, Luis Buñuel (1900-1983), is a Surrealist. As such, he loved the idea of surprising his public, of bringing viewers to awareness by surprising them. That being the case, you shouldn't be surprised if you find some very strange scenes that will make you wonder "what was he thinking?" :)

The plot of this film is simple. There is a dinner party, and the guest belong to the upper classes. Everything is perfect, but there is only a butler. All the other servants fled the premises, feeling that something wasn't right. As the party comes to an end, the guest realise that they cannot leave the house. At first, they don't worry too much, and everybody is pretty much the same. However, and hours pass by, and they ran out of food and water, tempers explode and manners deteriorate, showing that even the most polite person can go to extremes in certain conditions.

The ending is quite surprising, and the movie worthwhile watching. Buñuel said that "The real purpose of Surrealism is to explode the social order, to transform life itself", and he tried to do that with his films. In my opinion, "The Exterminating Angel" was Buñuel's way of criticizing the differences between classes, and a study of human behaviour at its worst. Of course, that is merely my interpretation. Watch this film and find yours...

Belen Alcat
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The Exterminating Angel (The Criterion Collection)
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