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Twentynine Palms

2.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From Bruno Dumont, one of the leading visionaries of world cinema, comes Twentynine Palms, a mesmerizing story of love, sex and evil set deep in the Joshua Tree desert. While scouting for a photo shoot location, an American photographer (David Wissak) and his Russian/French girlfriend (Katia Golubeva) spend their days engaging in impassioned fights, hasty reconciliations and frequent bouts of sex, until a shocking act of desperation leads to an unforeseen and brutal climax. DVD extras include: 5.1 Extraction, Trailer, Interview with Director, EPK, Making of Reel, Subtitle Control

No one can accuse director Bruno Dumont of taking the easy road. Dumont's Life of Jesus and L'Humanite are fascinating, but they test the comfort zone of even the most devoted art-house maven. Twentynine Palms serves up more of Dumont's uncompromising rigor, this time set in America. A couple scout locations in the desert around Joshua Tree, and spend most of their time fighting or having sex. The frankness of the director's approach to sex does not prepare one for the shock of the truly bleak final reels. This Last Tango in Zabrieskie Point has a lulling, creepy power before it reaches those shocks, although actors David Wissak and Katia Golubeva are perhaps not as compelling as Dumont wants them to be. Of course, he's showing empty people traversing one of the emptiest places on earth--so maybe it fits. In any case, this film will shake you if you stick with it. --Robert Horton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Yekaterina Golubeva, David Wissak
  • Directors: Bruno Dumont
  • Writers: Bruno Dumont
  • Producers: Allen Bain, Axel Möbius, Christel Brunn, Christoph Thoke, Darren Goldberg
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Wellspring
  • DVD Release Date: September 21, 2004
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002KQNPO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,224 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Twentynine Palms" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
When I rented TWENTYNINE PALMS, I knew it would showcase Bruno Dumont's taste for dispassionate portrayals, violence of various sorts, and shock. In spite of this mental preparation, this very atmospheric film built to a grotesque resolution that left me, a seasoned viewer, rattled. Unfortunately, the shock and awe it achieves is short lived. 'PALMS is modeled on the horror film, but, like many of its American cousins, the horror it achieves failed to haunt me. The narrative as a whole left me rattled, yes, but there was also an unsettled feeling, as if a cynic had just talked my ear off. I wondered, "Is there really something to this guy's story, or is just him?" You may also get the sense that the horror of 'PALMS is more about the worldview of the director (or his view of America), rather than the world his storytelling creates.

Sam Peckinpaw's STRAW DOGS is in ways a similar but superior film. I can admire 'DOGS for its many strengths, so long as I avoid viewing it as the MAN-AS-ANIMAL fable that Peckinpaw intended. It isn't that I disagree with his view of humans as domesticated animals. Rather, I see 'DOGS as a rare example of violent drama and technical virtuosity transcending the simplicity of its maker's defense; whether Peckinpaw has a point or not seems beside the point. Of course, the trick with any argument is in having good evidence. In pressing one's point of view, there is often, in or out of the filmic context, an artful description of a scene/scenario, one that reflects the viewer's position. In this way, films have the strange ability to create their own myths, their own arguments. To invest a film with one's views too forcibly can dull the work's independent life with the sententiousness of fables.
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Format: DVD
Referencing the American remake of Breathless and Deliverance (and not in the obvious way) without commenting on them, Twentynine Palms offers up shocking finale for which even the promise of a shocking finale will not prepare you. Often, sudden and violent endings feel desperately tacked on so that audiences have something to talk about and distributors have something by which to sell the film. In this case, however, the finale really causes you to reexamine the material. Bruno calls this an experimental horror film; his interview and statement of purpose are a bit overly-grave and under deep-he repeats himself on but a few points and says very little beyond the idea that he thinks people are really animals. Though that is basic stuff I give the benefit of the doubt to him and assume that we are getting a poor translation. In short, I think the point of the film is better realized in this film itself than it is in Bruno's translated discussion of it.

The demonstration of every human's vulnerability in this film is so graphically and unexpectedly rendered as to make it, in fact, one of the more terrifying films I've seen as an adult. It doesn't mean to remind us of the monster in the closet or the monster in our own hearts so much as it means to remind us that we are flesh and blood exposed to all the monstrosities of the world, regardless the strength of our minds, the intelligence of our emotions. In the end, brutal death is waiting and "deserve has nothing to do with it".

It brings to mind the Charles Bukowski quote: "There are no beautiful women; there are not strong men". For in this film, everything is broken down.
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Format: DVD
**Major Spoilers**

Twenty Nine Palms was a hard one to watch. First it bored us to death with long, untrimmed scenes, seemingly about not too much.

But I didn't think a film that had indulged itself as much as this one would fail to provide a decent payoff at the end.

Well, the film paid off all right.

A lot of what seems to be aimless ballast in the film turns out to have informed the shocking ending.

This guy who looks and acts like Travis Bickel in Taxi Driver, has a lust for sex even Travis, despite his pent up violence, does not display.

Not that the girl wasn't mostly game, though she complained about the underwater sex act in the motel swimming pool. She said her boyfriend "hurt" her.

A group of marines jump into the pool. 'Travis' then asks Katie if he would still be acceptable if he shaved his head like the raucous marines. She said he would NOT be acceptable, but the marines were "very handsome." This is a very ambivalent response to a pretty jealous boyfriend. The hair theme is pronounced in the film. It is a manlihood issue for 'Travis.' At one point Katie asks Jim what he uses on his hair. He doesn't answer.

The Marine discussion is one in a long series of actions, sex play and significant dialog between the couple that inform the violent end of the film.

'Travis' is ambivalent and a little jealous of those marines that broke up the tryst in the pool. Both the raucous marines and the jealousy theme echo in the rape scene near the end and the devastating Tsunami-like backlash later in the motel room.

There's a theme of isolation in the desert and in the two lovers' almost total separation from everyone as they wander from motel to desert and back again.
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