Cowards Bend the Knee
Cowards Bend the Knee (2004)

An expressionist work comprised of surreal action involving: a hockey rink that houses a forgotten wax museum, where ghosts of dead lovers stroll; and a beauty salon where a demented doctor, wearing a corset, performs abortions.

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: September 20, 2005
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Critic Score: 95% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
John Hartl
Seattle Times

If you've never seen Maddin's work, Cowards Bend the Knee is a good place to start.

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Jami Bernard
New York Daily News

It's bliss, I tell you!

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Sean Axmaker
Parallax View

... a miniature, barely more than an hour long... but it bubbles over with lust, guilt, and betrayal, not to mention weirdness.

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Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter

There's no denying the imagination and technical ingenuity on display, but this clearly ranks as one of Maddin's less accessible efforts, which is definitely saying something.

Manohla Dargis
New York Times

There is also something rather splendid about this extended-play peep show, as if Mr. Maddin had stumbled across a hitherto lost archive of cinema's less-than-innocent past.

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Matthew Sorrento
Film Threat

Plays like a fever dream recalled upon waking, told with the immediacy of fear couched in relentless pleasure.

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John Anderson

Lurid, tawdry and untoward entertainment from Canada's reigning mad genius.

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J. Hoberman
Village Voice

What's truly extraordinary about this movie -- which strikes me on two viewings as Maddin's masterpiece -- is that it not only plays like a dream but feels like one.

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Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A dreamlike tale told by an idiosyncratic storyteller who is hyper-imaginative.

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More reviews for Cowards Bend the Knee

Flixster Audience Score: 90% Flixster User Reviews
Greg S
The impossible to summarize, dreamlike plot features a hockey player with a wandering eye, abortions, seductive ghosts, hand transplants, matricide, an ice… More
Ed Fucking Harris
This is kinda what Un Chien Andalou would be like if Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel were Canadians raised on Hockey and Canadian Whiskey. A surreal,… More