Norte, the End of History

A brilliant but jaded law school dropout, impelled by rage and moral conviction, murders a predatory local moneylender, but his sense of righteousness deserts him after a poor family man is convicted of the crime and sent to prison. This harrowing Filipino take on Crime and Punishment runs more than four hours, cutting between the killer as his guilt consumes him and the innocent man as he suffers in prison. The movie’s length and deliberate pace may get it lumped in with the so-called “slow cinema” movement, but unlike the eastern European filmmakers who’ve defined the genre, writer-director Lav Diaz rarely succumbs to the stylistic esoterica of holding endlessly on a shot just to watch the movement inside it resolve. For him, time works as a vise, closing relentlessly on the characters as they wrestle with their awful fates. Powerful and humbling, this 2013 drama is worth every minute you’re willing to give it. In subtitled English and Filipino.