By: Liam Parker
Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO, a 90% dialogue-free, Polish film whose protagonist is a donkey, is one of the most interesting films of 2022. The movie, named after its donkey, centres itself on the melancholic ex-circus animal as he travels the continent of Europe; witnessing the worst and best sides of human nature and chronicling a microcosm of modern European life along the way.
As the human characters take a backseat, the audience observes the emotional delivery and gravitas provided by this exceptional animal portraying EO. In fact, the most captivating moments on screen are those involving animals and their behaviours. Some scenes, such as a spider spinning it’s web, have all the emotional impact of a high-budget nature documentary ala BBC’s Planet Earth.
The audience’s strong attachment to EO, the dazzling cinematography, and Skolimowski’s ambitious vision almost distracts movie goers away from the film’s razor-thin plot – almost. For all its beauty and ideological statements being made about Europe and the cultural evolution therein, EO constantly treads the line between minimalism and boredom. I feel that EO would be best experienced in a theatre, as the movie goer completely and total surrenders their attention to benefit from the emotional impact the film provides.
EO really is unlike any film that you’ve seen before. As a director and storyteller, Skolimowski finds a way to channel the soul and energy from EO, even if it’s from a simple turn of the animal’s head. As long as the viewer is willing to have patience with the film, EO can offer a truly unique experience.
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