A depressing failure of a film. That's how I can sum up this entire review in one line. This film is a failure in storytelling, both through dialogue, structure and visuals. This film is largely a failure in acting, aside from an expectedly strong performance from Vera Farmiga. The film is a failure in editing, both in terms of narrative structure and just in terms of shitty continuity errors.
However, the most depressing thing here, is that this film could have been good or even great. There's, by all accounts, a strong and literary source material here. These actors are all talented. The director, while hardly a Lynne Ramsey or Kelly Reichardt, is at least an interesting talent. And yet this film completely fails.
The film is very reluctant to reveal any information. At first I thought it was a stylistic choice, like in a David Lynch film. After about half an hour, I realised it was just shitty storytelling. At one point, Sarbond's wife is jealous of his relationship with the Baroness. Despite him having one scene prior to this jealousy, which by all accounts was chaste and not grounds for an affair. At another point, Sarbond almost kisses the angel Xas. This is not once explained.
There's also events in the film that have no meaning or impact. At one point, the Baroness has a mastecomy. Why? It doesn't aid the story, it doesn't increase the drama and it's never referred to again.
The one shining part of the film is Vera Farmiga, who turns in the only full-bodied characterisation. If this film was good, or at all well-received then she might be in line for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. However, it's not and this film isn't going to be seen by anybody other than film enthusiasts like myself or old people in New Zealand.
This is a devastatingly artless piece of filmmaking. D-.