Razzle Dazzle is about many things, but its slow, meandering techniques can make you antsy, and I don't think it's an insult to Jacobs to say that boredom becomes part of the movie's point. Close, sometimes indecipherable scrutiny of a 1903 Thomas Edison film reel forms the basis of Razzle Dazzle, and after you hit bottom — once you realize that this will be most of what you can expect from Jacobs for the next 90 minutes — you do begin to appreciate time in all its repetitive, redundant, monotonous splendor. The movie becomes like a dream, and it does crush you in a way — it makes you feel insignificant, like a speck in time.When hit by boredom, let yourself be crushed by it; submerge, hit bottom. In general, with things unpleasant, the rule is: The sooner you hit bottom, the faster you surface. The idea here is to exact a full look at the worst. The reason boredom deserves such scrutiny is that it represents pure, undiluted time in all its repetitive, redundant, monotonous splendor.
For boredom is an invasion of time into your set of values. It puts your existence into its proper perspective, the net result of which is precision and humility. The former, it must be noted, breeds the latter. The more you learn about your own size, the more humble and the more compassionate you become to your likes, to the dust aswirl in a sunbeam or already immobile atop your table.
J. Hoberman addressed the paradoxical nature of Razzle Dazzle's appeal in the last line of his glowing review: "Razzle Dazzle feels endless — not a criticism — because it is." It's also hypnotic and surprisingly visceral — it plays your emotions like a piano. And oddly, after being in the dumps for part of the weekend, I found it to be a powerfully cleansing experience.