Rhonda Johnson
May 26, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Timbuktu

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
97 minutes
release date
02/05/15
Limited Release Date
01/28/15
Wide Release Date
02/05/15
performer
Ibrahim Ahmed, Abel Jafri, Toulou Kiki
director
Abderrahmane Sissako
genre
Drama

We gave it a C

This cloying tale narrated by a dog named Mr. Bones should annoy Auster’s fans even more than his last book, the skimpy memoir ”Hand to Mouth”. Flashes of Auster’s delightful eccentricity appear in his depiction of Willy G. Christmas, an itinerant poet on a do-good mission from Santa Claus, whose death leaves loyal, wise Mr. Bones alone to ponder human nature (dogs can understand ”Ingloosh” but can’t speak it) and heaven (Timbuktu). Unfortunately, sophomoric tricks (Santa=Satan, God=Dog) dilute Auster’s verbal electricity, and sentimentality substitutes for the magical fatalism of masterpieces like ”The Music of Chance”. For a writer of Auster’s talents, this effort is a mere dog paddle.

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