|legeros.com > Movie Hell > 1999 > Reviews|
Curiouser and curiouser. The season's second profoundly provoca- tive film-- after a certain "R"-rated cartoon-- stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as a good-looking, good-living, Central Park West-addressed married-couple-with-kid whose bedroom brain work (fear, jealousy, etc.) collides after a charged Christmas party. He gets accused of flirting, she reveals a sexual secret, and Hub- by is thrown into a tailspin. Cruise goes cruising, subsequently sending his character on a series of increasingly bizarre erotic encounters. (Read: vignettes.) Not all (any?) of it makes com- plete, literal sense; nor is Stanley Kubrick's final film even re- motely conventionally paced. In agonizing scene after agonizing scene, the Master allows a numbing number of seconds to pass be- tween lines of dialogue and expressed emotions. (The result is a sort of slow-motion that the actors appear to be performing in.) Stunning (interior) sets help fill the void, as do the many eccen- tric (and often outrageously comic) touches, be they the splayed figure of an overdosed hooker, a full-on fey hotel clerk, or a costume shop-turned-family bordello. And, of course, there's the sex-- everywhere, in every seeming form, and out-coming in every possible consequence. (Cheap thrillers be forewarned: most of it ain't titillating.) Gimme another viewing and a few more months and I might have it figgered out. As it stands, the stars and sets and subject matter and glacial pacing at least appears to amaze the Friday-night crowd. The packed 'plex we attended stayed whisper-quiet for two-and-a-half hours. And *that's* something you don't see every day... With Sydney Pollack, Todd Field, Marie Richardson, Rade Serbedzija, Vinessa Shaw, and Leelee Sobieski. Kubrick also co-wrote the screenplay with Frederic Raphael, from Arthur Schnitzler's novel "Traumnovelle." (Rated "R"/159 min.) Grade: B Copyright 1999 Michael J. Legeros Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros
Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: July 18, 1999.