The Arbalest

The Arbalest ★★★½

Until the last ten minutes, I found this consistently insufferable, Andersonian compositions devoted to a prick nursing a torturous obsession with an acquaintance. It had occasional moments that, in the moment, breathed with invention and wit and even a believable melancholy, but they seemed far and few between. Knockoffs of knockoffs, borrowed emotion and rage.

And then those last ten minutes introduce an absurdist twist so bold and nuts that it took me some time to accept. And then everything clicked back into place. The Arbalest became not just another story about an irredeemable man-child, but a treatise on selling out, a truly powerful fable about what it means to build your life on guilt - the rage that never dies. I wish this was more straight absurdist drama than the annoying comedy it sometimes wants to be, and I wish I was keyed in sooner to its intentions, but that ending justifies most of it.

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