Cremaster 2
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Anticipation of this fourth and penultimate installment (numbered 2) of the fabled and fabulous Cremaster series might help us imagine what waiting for the premiere of the next opera in the Ring Cycle was like...Visiting ever stranger territory, this new operatic film follows Gary Gilmore in his pursuit of Houdini in the afterlife.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Darkly powerful."
‑ Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"Barney defiantly makes expensive avant-garde movies that proudly flaunt both their extravagance and their obscurity, and while they're salient forays into notions of history and narrative to be sure, they're also sallies of the genius Artist writ large."
‑ Holly Willis, L.A. Weekly
"Barney's outlandish mise-en-scène, forever emphasizing the organic, the amorphous, the massive, the adhesive, and the fluorescent in quite literal ways, also retains those very qualities in my memory."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
"It's a little longer than Cremaster 1, and it has extra room for more confusing craziness."
‑ Ian Waldron-Mantgani, UK Critic
"The narcotized self-satisfaction of [Cremaster 1] is, however, preferable to the narrative Cremaster 2 (1999), which, twice as long."
‑ J. Hoberman, Village Voice
"It is Gilmore's story and his family history, evoked symbolically, that give Cremaster 2 a solidity and emotional depth that are missing in the earlier, more playful installments."
‑ Stephen Holden, New York Times
"Bizarre and incomprehensible, full of imagery that's intriguing and creepy ... and this time quite sexy as well."
‑ Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
"Easily the most plot-driven in all of Matthew Barney's Cremaster cycle, Cremaster 2 still conveys the thematic obsessions that drive the series, and stands as one of its most accessible entries."
‑ Jeremy Heilman,
"A tantalizing melange of dreamlike riffs on the desolation of the American west, the empty poses of male ritual, and the blood lust of macho fetishism."
‑ Ted Shen, Chicago Reader
"The most cohesive narrative in any of these films, following murderer Gary Gilmore (played by Barney) on his crime spree, conviction, & striking execution, juxtaposed with a Harry Houdini (played by Norman Mailer) subplot."
‑ Ian Buckwalter, DCist
"the 1977 execution of Gary Gilmore (played by Barney, with prosthetically reduced penis) is figured as a rodeo ride to the death"
‑ Anton Bitel, Movie Gazette
More reviews for Cremaster 2 on Rotten Tomatoes