November 9, 2004

Don't Get In The Bathtub, Nicole

As a part of Cinecultist's movie binge with Matty, aka Capn' Design, documented on Gothamist yesterday, we saw as our first film the new Nicole Kidman movie Birth. Directed by Jonathan Glazer, who did Sexy Beast which we've heard lots of great things about, CC found the mise en scene from the trailer's totally intriguing. It feels quite a bit like Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick's last movie, all baroque old money New York with secrets simmering just below the surface. But like Eyes Wide Shut, Birth has a number of intriguing elements which don't coalesce into a cohesive movie.

Perhaps the real problem is that despite our collective fascination with the idle rich and their wily ways, our current screenwriters or even novelists don't tend to be the idle rich. Someone like Edith Wharton or even Henry James knew what went on behind the closed doors of the upper eschelon, but did Stanley or does Milo Addica and Jean-Claude Carrière, Glazer's co-writers of the screenplay? The set-up (rich woman still mourns the loss of her husband 10 years ago when a young boy comes into her life claiming to be him reincarnated) is an intriguing one, but the third act twist is far too simplistic. While CC can't necessarily suggest a better ending, the one offered by the film seems to be too pat and thus disappointing.

The gorgeous opening sequence -- with a voice-over by the husband suggesting that if his wife Anna died and a little bird then came to him and said she was Anna he'd believe it, and then his final silent run through the snowy Central Park shot from behind -- is so evocative, that the let down from the rest of the movie was quite palpable.

Posted by karen at November 9, 2004 8:32 AM