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Quintet

R CC
3.0 out of 5 stars (13) IMDb 5.2/10

Robert Altman's somber science fiction tale that takes place after a nuclear holocaust has thrown the world into another Ice Age.

Starring:
Paul Newman, Vittorio Gassman
Runtime:
1 hour, 58 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Science Fiction, Drama, Mystery
Director Robert Altman
Starring Paul Newman, Vittorio Gassman
Supporting actors Fernando Rey, Bibi Andersson, Brigitte Fossey, Nina van Pallandt, David Langton, Thomas Hill, Monique Mercure, Craig Richard Nelson, Maruska Stankova, Anne Gerety, Michel Maillot, Max Fleck, Françoise Berd, Emil Glassbourg
Studio 20th Century Fox
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Other reviewers here have lambasted this film for its pace, and I will admit that it takes its time, but that is what gives the film its insight. I cannot put into words exactly what makes this such a great film, other than to say that the cinematography and sets are excellent. "Quintet" is one of those films where understanding comes from emotion, which is all the more important here because many of the characters, Newman's central character included, are emotionally deficient. Again, some have seized upon this as an indicator of the film's inferior quality. Like the men and women in the space station in "2001: A Space Odyssey," who were more robotic than human, these characters' lack of emotional reaction to events we cringe at is purposeful, and gives us a window into their lives. These are hardened, tragic figures. The only moment in the film where a character seems to be experiencing real, powerful emotions turns out to be a ruse, a fact that seals this film's five-star rating for me.
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Anyone I ever meet who says they have seen Quintet always says the same things: Yawn, boring, cut it off after 20 minutes or half way through etc. This is sci-fi for hardcore fans, I mean hardcore not as in action but in 'willing suspension of disbelief', placing your self into the story and believing this could happen. Yes, it is slow and boring much of the time, but this is a unique type of film for Paul Newman which makes it all worth while. Set in Mankind's last ice-age Newman journeys back into the city with his preganant wife looking for work only to find the city in near ruins and slowly being over run with wild dogs who devour the dead within minutes. Everyone in the city is consumed by the strange boardgame 'Quintet', which is the only expression of life they seem to hold regard for. Against his will, due to cruel circumstances, he is drawn into a real game of life and death with ultimately no real purpose to continue except to play the game for the sake of playing. The end of the film is bleak, as one would expect in a dystopian film of this caliber, but Newman's character maintains his self identity and his ability to hope for the future. If you absolutely MUST skip over the bulk of the film, please watch the last 20 minutes. I hate to encourage this, but you simply must see the end of the film to appreciate the full scope of the work. In the face of desperation, starvation and extinction how would you choose to play or exit the life consuming game of Quintet?
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It was hard to suspend disbelief watching this move. The idea of people killing each other out of boredom as part of a game is reasonable - Russia has had cases where someone commits murder because that's the last thing they could bet on, having run out of money. But the delivery of the story line falls flat, is boring and repetitive.
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I haven't seen Quintet since it was first released in 1979. Of course, it was a different world then. A future nuclear holocaust was practically a given looming over every day life in the Cold War. But the scenario of this minimalist Altman film is as plausible in the face of global warming and species death, which threatens to roast half the planet we call home and to freeze the other half in a new ice age. The acting and direction is suberb, and the digital quality of sound and picture in this DVD edition is excellent.
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I had seen only the Robert Altman extravaganza type films before, where he manages large groups of people many celebrities throughout (like chess pieces). Here Altman does it on a skilled small scale with only a few (also a noted cast, this time, and ironically, quintet pieces.) So it is interesting in that light. It is well pulled together, interesting, visually appealing, though having a depressing feel that made me not want to see it through initially, but glad I did. But what does one expect in a post-nuclear ice age with only limited survivors? It boils down to acceptance of non-surviving in a bleak world without hope vs. hope, the dark and light in humanity (splashed with blood red), Altman stresses the dark. But the end result of what one becomes and gets in life being colored in how one sees things. Loved the faded out beginning and ending whited out scenes as humanity seemed to be snuffing out, but was hope just around the corner? Was nice to see Paul Newman again in a healthy younger state.
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Could only stand it for 20 minutes - terrible zoom destroys any focus on film whatsoever. Real lack of any visual element to what I saw, just a lot of bad sets and costumes. Dialogue - exposition, exposition, exposition. I read a review of this film that said it had no commercial ambitions whatsoever and that made me really interested in watching it. Unfortunately with this one, I feel as though Robert Altman had no ambitions in using the camera to any effective end. Looks like weird 70s television show - flat.
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After many years a hunter of seals Essex (Paul Newman) comes home to the city. He beings his wife Vivia (Brigitte Fossey.) Before the greetings is over his extended family meats a violent ending. This is just the beginning for Essex as he must now make sense of this.

In the process we learn of a game "Quintet" that reflects the geometric universe and the sense of life.

Will he figure out the sense of the seemingly random disposal of life or will we finally get a glimpse of sixth space.

Keep your eye on the goose.

Appropriately filmed on location at "Man and His World", Montreal. The film has an out of focus border to give us not a dream scene as much as the feeling we are watching the whole movie through a frosty window.
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