There is no denying "Citadel" is a refreshing and original movie within its genre but is it also a good one? Not entirely in my opinion.

It's hard to describe or a compare this movie to anything else. You could say it's a horror movie without any true horror and a surreal movie, with still a realistic look to it. This all might sound strange and vague to you but luckily "Citadel" is a very accessible movie, that doesn't pretend it's something way more than it is.

The movie doesn't necessarily explain everything and at times you are also wondering what is real and what isn't. Lots of it seems to be happening just in the main character's head but at others you are starting to get more doubtful and actually start to believe everything that's happening- and all that you're seeing is real. It leaves basically everything up to the viewer's own interpretation, which is fine but the fact that the movie barely explains anything or flat out tells you this is 'real' and this is only 'fantasy' at any point also somewhat comes across as lazy writing at times.

Besides, the movie is bit of a slow-burner. It does not only feature a somewhat slower pace, it also takes a while before it starts to become clear what the story is supposed to be all about. This is not necessarily a bad thing or something that could turn a movie into a boring and bad one, as long as it still manages to remain an interesting watch all throughout and provide something rewarding toward the end. And well, I have to say that this movie just isn't always that interesting and it also never succeeded at fully keeping my attention. I do admit that the movie slowly becomes better and more interesting as it progresses but it just isn't quite enough all to make me consider this a great movie as well.

Thing I did really liked about the movie was its look and atmosphere. The movie is never really clear about it but it seems to me it's being set somewhere in the near future and the whole environment has a sort of post-apocalyptic and surreal look and feel to it, even while nothing ever looks out of this world. I believe the best way to describe and compare this movie is to a Terry Gilliam movie. Who knows, perhaps this also was the style and type of approach they were going for with its atmosphere and story but unfortunately the movie itself isn't directed by Terry Gilliam, so it never quite feels as good, fascinating or provoking with any of its themes and messages.

You could still take a lot out of this movie if you want to. You could certainly say it's one that's filled with metaphors but the strange and positive thing about this movie is that you could watch it and still enjoy it just as much, while ignoring all of this.

I am probably making it sound better than it is right now but the truth is that it's also really not a bad movie. It mostly has its originality and atmosphere going for it but the story and pace are all still somewhat lacking and are preventing this movie from being a truly great and fully effective one.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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