Pilgrims (2021)

  • Year: 2021
  • Released: 08 Apr 2022
  • Country: Lithuania
  • Adwords: 6 wins & 8 nominations
  • IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15118036/
  • Rotten Tomatoes: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/pilgrims
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: Lithuanian
  • MPA Rating: N/A
  • Genre: Crime, Drama
  • Runtime: 92 min
  • Writer: Laurynas Bareisa
  • Director: Laurynas Bareisa
  • Cast: Gabija Bargailaite, Giedrius Kiela, Indre Patkauskaite
  • Keywords:
100% – Critics

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Pilgrims Movie Reviews


Soooooooo booooooring, the plot is weak, develops slowly, and almost nothing happens in the movie. There is little dialogue. The main actress is completely soulless, and uninteresting, she was constantly rambling all the time. As always in Lithuanian films, swearing was inevitable, it was supposed to be funny, but it wasn’t funny at all for me. I don’t recommend watching it at night, because I guarantee you’ll fall asleep. I also do not recommend watching during the day. The ending was as if nothing had happened.

I had high hopes for this movie, I really wanted to see it, but I regret wasting my time.

Not for normal people

Acting was only OK. Half of the film is silent, besides background noise, which was too loud and was often louder than the actors. I didn’t see any plot. For the first 50 minutes, they keep looking for Ieva. They keep digging, no one wants them to find her. After they do find her, Paulius jokes around and that is it. She is irrelevant. Irelevance is something this movie has a lot of – they tell us a lot of useless information, like the height of the fence. I’m Lithuanian, so I had the chance to see it in its original language and with English subtitles. And I have to say, the translation was bad. It was too proper, and when speaking Lithuanian, they speak loosely and youthful, and the subtitles look like they were made by a fifty-year-old. I live in the town where they shot this movie. When promoting the movie, they put a lot of attention on the fact that it was shot in Karmelava. However, they used a few barely known streets.

To like and even watch this movie, you must be a movie guru or a movie enthusiast.

Pilgrims who go nowhere

I was excited to watch the most “condecorated” Lituanian movie ever. But my excitement was extinguished just a few minutes after the opening credits.

Beware. There are some spoilers ahead. But nevermind…you can’t spoil a movie where nothing happens.

Paulius, and his ex girlfriend Indre, who both have serious psychological problems and cannot function in society, travel from Vilnus in his Porsche Cayenne to the small town of Karmeliava to retrace the steps of the kidnapping and murder of Paulius’s brother, Matas.

Paulius, who 4 years after the tragedy is still shellshock as if the event happened yesterday, is a complete mess. It is unclear if he is a mess because of the incident or he is just a mess.

His plan of retracing the steps of his brothers murder is to go to the village where he was murdered and explode in an outburst at every single person he meets, kick down a grandmas rear window, and fall from his bed wrapped in this blanket and kick like a wounded horse.

It is unclear if he has lived the past 4 years in such a haze, or this is only triggered while in the village. Indre, on the other hand, at times, seems to enjoy the experience. She carries this smirk throughout the movie that is hard to watch (this could also be bad acting). Either she feels no connection to the incident or she is so psychologically underdeveloped she doesn’t know how to process pain. In one of the most pointless scenes of the movie, while Paulius explains in detail how his brother couldn’t jump a fence because of his broken bones. She asks like 4 times if “nobody really didn’t see anything” in a robotical manner and then flashes her breasts to the street.

Our perturbed characters wander around the town, visiting the last places that Matas saw before dying while senselessly bullying the locals and exhibiting a sense of superiority. This is what makes both main characters extremely unlikable. It is hard to empathize with their pain when their behavior is so disdainful. Indre takes away a construction worker’s lighter, when he claims it back, Paulius threatens him with a gun and berates him because of his low status. Indre then tells the construction worker with a smirk that “she didn’t know Paulius is armed”. All while leaning stylishly on the Porsche.

Then Paulius bullies a former waitress who was the last person who saw his brother alive, pretending to squirt her with acid. What a good way to cope with trauma. The villagers in the meanwhile, seem very composed and deal with the abuse in a dignified manner.

I don’t have much experience with arthouse euro films, so perhaps my mind is a bit corrupted by the Hollywoodian character “arcs”. But I was expecting some change, some realization, some lesson learned, some closure perhaps. At the end there is nothing. No new discovery about the murder. The characters can’t change anything. The murdered got life sentence in prison. Justice was served. Could the villagers have done more to avoid the murder? Perhaps. But this is more a result of the bystander effect than malice. At the end, there is no transformation, Paulius and Indre will come back to their lives the same as they were after their trip. As Self- absorbed dickheads.

The movie has some good moments. There are a few scenes of dark humor that are funny in their own strange way (although most laughs in the theater came when they heard the Lithuanian word “debilas” being said on the big screen so I am not sure the audience got it). There is some very natural acting (mostly from secondary actors). It is aesthetically pleasing and there were some scenes that had me on edge, when Indre was driving with one of the locals at night, there was a menace in the air. But again, nothing happens.

As to themes. The movie shows the disharmony between the new progressive city culture and the traditional Lithuanian village culture. As Lithuanian cities become more progressive and increased economic well being moves Lithuanians from their agrarian past to a cosmopolitan existence they are keen on stripping themselves of the violence characteristic of Lithuanian villages. But the main characters, even though they have money and the city in them, also retort to the menace of violence as soon as they get the chance. So that “past” is quite ingrained in their psyche.

They say Lithuanian cinema is “reviving”. If this is the stuff they are coming up with, perhaps it should remain dead a bit longer. Maybe the silence will give them better ideas.