Treasure Island (1999) Poster

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For those who enjoy confusion
Greg M.3 February 2000
I have no idea how to describe this movie, and also would love to provide others the same opportunity I had - seeing it with no prior knowledge of what to expect. I enjoyed it immensely but can also say I barely understood what was going on, if in fact there was anything to understand in the first place. Fans of David Lynch (tangentially) or especially Guy Maddin films should particularly enjoy this, and any fans of the comic book EIGHTBALL will probably be beside themselves with joy and wonder (it came as close as any film I've seen to the tone and mood Dan Clowes creates so effectively).

One slight note just to warn anyone easily offended - this movie, if rated, would be NC-17 for sure. Fans of male full-frontal nudity, however...hmm, well...yes. This is weird wild stuff.
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Communication Breakdown
campfire28 February 2004
The Treasure Island DVD should be required viewing in any film production course! It's a textbook example of how NOT to make a movie. Watching the movie and then listening to the writer/director's commentary demonstrates graphically the vast chasm between what he knows about the characters and what he communicates to his audience about them. Call me old-fashioned, but I think of movies as a means of communication, and communication isn't complete if the audience doesn't know what the hell the director is talking about. The director's avowed purpose is to make a movie void of "Hollywood conventions". Among those conventions, alas, is consistency of character and clarity of concept. The director himself realizes that audiences often don't understand points where he has purposely avoided a "Hollywood cliche". However, he never seems to grasp the idea that cliches exist for a reason. They are shorthand for conveying complex ideas quickly and clearly. It's fine to avoid them, but they need to be replaced with some other way of communicating the same idea, not simply eliminated. The film is built on an intriguing premise, rich with potential. Two guys are assigned to fabricate a personality and background for an unidentified corpse that is to be used in a disinformation mission in the closing days of WWII. Soon each begins to populate their personal fantasies with the character and their invention becomes increasingly real to them. Someone with less disdain for the "Hollywood convention" of traditional storytelling could create a wonderful film with this idea. This film certainly isn't it! The actors do everything they can to bring consistency to these characters, but they are all too often defeated by the dazed and confused script. In particular, I'm becoming increasingly impressed by Jonah Blechman, who plays the lively corpse. In a number of independent films, he always stands out as a very charismatic young actor.
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treasure trove
bobbresson27 March 2005
This is an important film. It challenges the viewer and encourages you to pay attention. There's a lot to like here. The director seems interested in taking apart some of the more tired cinematic conventions. Unlike a lot of recent American cinema, this film takes an interest in what it means to make a movie in the first place. The DVD includes a lot of bonus features, and there are two commentaries that explain the movie for the viewers still befuddled after an initial viewing. When the film screened at Sundance, it made more than a few audience members uncomfortable and angry. This is a Sunday morning coffee movie, not a Friday night party movie. For the dedicated viewer, it's a treasure trove.
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gregorysgardner27 October 2004
The best Treasure Island ever made. They just don't make films

like this anymore, or ever. No one makes films like this. More

than a novelty, this film is funny, frank and fascinating, yet moody,

mysterious and morose. This is one of my favorite pictures. The

director must have had some idea what it is all about, but he

certainly leaves room for your own impressions and interpretations, while leaving little left to the imagination. Why he

has not made more films like this, I have no idea. While

reminding me of some of the best noir, it is one of a kind. But this

is not for the lazy or simple.
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A treasure of bad film making
Riff-36 April 2000
Was there a contest to come up with the film that could pack in the most cheesy third rate film school moments? That is the only reason I can imagine for this film to have ever been made. The overall concept behind this "story" (if one could be so generous) seems promising - the climax of the war, secret codes, mysterious characters. But the execution is so self-conscious you don't believe a moment of it. Weird isn't always interesting.
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