This was a very fascinating movie.
I can see why it has become such a popular and renowned film since it first came out, but did I like it? The short answer, yeah. The long answer, well here we go. You know what actually surprised me about the movie? The chess match was played in sessions, so really the whole structure of the movie was nothing like I anticipated it. I thought it would be, buildup, buildup, dialogue, dialogue, "Who are you?" "I am Death.", chess match, end of movie. But no, the match is split up between character action, development, and dialogue. Even Death himself is kind of more in the background, with the main focus on Antonious Block played by a very young Max von Sydow and his search for knowledge of God, existence, and death. It's strange seeing Max as a very young, dashing man because every movie I've seen him in he always looks the same, awesome elder gentleman so this was a new light and he does good in the movie really capturing that viewpoint of, what's the point of it all when you get right down to it, that sort of cynical, I need proof, no nonsense attitude towards life and more importantly religion. See Antonious was in the Crusades, so after 10 years of bloodshed all in the name of God, you kind of start having your doubts about the whole religion thing. And most of Death's screentime is devoted to him toying and antagonizing Antonious, with a very menacing presence and just this sort of uneasiness. Which is how it really should be when you get down to it! You shouldn't look upon Death as a grandfather figure, or someone you have deep emotional attachments to, you really should have your skin crawl in his or her presence which is how I felt! Especially in the second to last scene, I mean my God I felt so uneasy and disturbed, it was dripping with such a doomy atmosphere and dark ending to it all, it really hit me believe it or not. Surprisingly as much as it touches upon death, it takes the time to appreciate aspects of life. Seeing children learn how to walk, having a meal with friends, pursuing love, simple joys but can mean entire worlds to some. It was an interesting experience, I was a mere witness to this story and these people but really felt a lot. Solace, anger, fear, shock, apathy, empathy, happiness, sadness, a whole volley of emotions. Certainly made me appreciate the day I was given. So yeah, I do recommend the movie. You certainly have to be in the right mindset and mood for it, but if the time comes go ahead and watch it. I found it well worth the time I had of living.