Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Done In 60 Seconds Competition 2015
Guide To Marvel's Infinity War
The Making Of The West Wing
Get 12 Issues For Only £25 Today
The perfect gift this Christmas
London Film Festival 2014
Our round-up of the galas, films and interviews
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Remy Girard
Stephane Rousseau
Marie-Josee Croze
Marina Hands.
Directors
Denys Arcand.
Screenwriters
Denys Arcand.
Running Time
98 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Concerning Violence
4 Star Empire Rating
Stations Of The Cross
3 Star Empire Rating
Horrible Bosses 2
3 Star Empire Rating
My Old Lady
2 Star Empire Rating
Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Leviathan
5 Star Empire Rating
Le Jour Se Lève
5 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
5 Star Empire Rating

The Barbarian Invasions
Denys Arcand's discursive and urbanely sour sequel to The Decline Of The American Empire (1986).


submit to reddit


Plot
A London-based financier (Rousseau) returns to Québec and uses his wealth and wiles to help alleviate his estranged father's (Girard) terminal cancer by arranging for alternative healthcare and assembling his former academic comrades for a last dig at life, love and a world changing for the worse.


Review
Denys Arcand is easily Québec's most vaunted filmmaker, and this discursive and urbanely sour sequel to The Decline Of The American Empire (1986) will reinforce this deserved reputation. However, this 16-year reunion of a bunch of one-time politico-cultural radicals and sexual free spirits bears all the superficial sophistication of the pseudo-intellectualising chic that has caused so many critics to dismiss French director Claude Lelouch as a middlebrow phoney.

There's much to amuse and concur with in expiring professor Rémy Girard's grumpy asides on the sad devaluation of knowledge, individualism and taste. But Arcand's satirical swipes at bureaucratic ineptitude, union corruption, US imperialism and impersonal modes of communication are surprisingly clumsy. As is much of the plotting, with many incidents feeling artificial because Arcand has failed to make eminently worthwhile points with sufficient conviction.

The structure similarly misses the flashbacking subtlety of the original. Even the characterisation lacks depth, with the reassembled buddies restricted to glib bon mots, while Rousseau's yuppified son and playpal-turned-junkie Croze seem more like plot devices than people - hence the hollow clang of the conclusion.


Verdict
So many fascinating ideas are raised here that Arcand's decision to explore them within the context of a self-satisfied soap is disappointing.


Reviewed by Patrick Peters


Related Reviews

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 48% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's Farewell To Middle-Earth Issue:
Guest -Edited By Peter Jackson

The countdown to Empire's stunning new issue begins here...

Josh Hutcherson On The Hunger Games Phenomenon
'I've done my fair share of young adult material now'

What Is A Squidward? A Beginner's Guide To SpongeBob SquarePants
If you aren’t already a massive fan, prepare to become one

Classic Feature: Gods Among Us - Robert De Niro
The heavyweight champion of character immersion, explosive rage and jawdropping subtleties

Empire Meets Thelma Schoonmaker
On editing Scorsese, GoodFellas and a life in film

5 Possible Captain America: Civil War Roles For Daniel Brühl
Failing a Red Skull return, here are some Marvel villains the actor could play...

Kit Harington On How To Train Your Dragon 2
As the sequel hits home entertainment, we talk to the Game Of Thrones star

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)