Appointment with Death (1988)

Multiple Appointments

You can come to films for the bubble of the film, as it presents itself. Or you can enjoy the film as a character in your life, your personal film and the narratives that change you. In this case, I chose the larger film.

That’s because I have an overarching narrative about Agatha Christie’s legacy in film. It isn’t pretty. Think of her brand of narrative as a character, with peculiar influence over noir — so she changes everything she touches — but she can’t form friendships with any of the other narrative characters because they have careers that she obstructs by being too ambitious. You likely know people like this, who both profoundly influence you, but you can’t work with because you are bound to compromise. I suspect everyone who purports to be a Christian is in this boat and it must eat them. For me it is a scientific vision.

Then there is story about actors bumping into projects — because that is their living — and sometimes participating. Here we have many familiar faces who simply showed up for work, were likely unhappy with conditions, but did the job anyway. There’s a sort of mechanical clockwork that you can assign to this ‘character’ in our meta narrative.

A similar character are the producers who are intensely human and desperate for survival, groping and chopping as they go in response to minor and major emergencies. They are the ones murdered in this meta narrative. (This film failed to save them from bankruptcy.)

But for me, the most compelling character is always love. That metacharacter dominates any film experience for me. Here we have the director and a key actor in deep passionate love. You can see it in every relevant shot — the linger, the attention. Meanwhile, this woman was in her deepest bulimia as a result of what she brings to her identity as a sexual object, so that demon haunts the love — as well as the chores of performing. This back and forth between the two is a two-way street and you can judge for yourself how this metacharacter of love lust and hunger navigates through the passage of meta harm and death.

Posted in 2022

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *