The Tribe

The Tribe ★★★★

I don't know sign language, so I can't really put a quote here. Well this is awkward...

The formal daring of The Tribe is inarguable. A two-hour film that is, in essence, silent consisting totally of sign language with no subtitles. It's a brilliant conceit; one that pushes the filmmakers and actors to communicate everything visually - as films should. In many ways, the film is one of the most incredible realizations of the power of cinema ever.

The unwavering commitment to pull us into this hyper-realistic world is admirable and Slaboshpitsky's use of long takes are not only warranted, but are almost necessary. This is a film about displaced youth who find their way through a world which has long established that it doesn't care about them. Slaboshpitsky's decision to show us everything, even the profoundly nasty bits, only heightens the realism of these characters.

However, The Tribe certainly isn't perfect. One pivotal fight roughly midway through the film is poorly choreographed and looks laughable as a result. Now, this wouldn't be such a problem if so much character development wasn't riding on it. But, the moment acts as an axis around which our principal character swings to catapult him into stage two of his persona.

This is a trying film. It's certainly mesmerizing, but there are times when you'll wish Slaboshpitsky would avert his gaze. But, to do so would be to betray his characters and to betray the entire conceit of the film. So, despite its character-building issues, The Tribe comes wholly recommended. I give it a 4/5.