Not Sufficiently Extreme
‘Fight Club’ meets ‘Zed and Two Noughts’ meets ‘Bladerunner’ meets ‘Fearless’ meets ‘Leaving Las Vegas.’
I celebrate the intelligent vision of this film. But ‘Fight Club’ wove a more engaging neurosis; ‘Zed’ had a stronger disturbing vision; ‘Bladerunner’ a more thorough sense of programmed sex; ‘Fearless’ more visceral crashes; and ‘Leaving Las Vegas,’ more relentless characters marching to oblivion (though it is not in the class of the other films).
Cronenberg has a fine visual sense, but it is not strongly individual. And the same can be said of his metaphoric fabric. So although this film is worth watching, I cannot consider it important. What really bothered me was how restrained it was. We needed stronger discomfort (like ‘Shadow of the Vampire’), a more radical visual statement (like ‘Pillow Book’), excessively greater perversions (The Coens could do it), increasingly outrageous acting style (Garafalano, where are you?). This is a pretty tepid film given its aspirations.
This is not a film about sex in the real sense — it amazes me that anyone could think so — rather, the technology of filming sex and what works in films for an audience with escalating needs. Folks: the chief character is a FILM producer. The drivers in the club are FILM stunt drivers. The re-enactments are of FILM actors’ deaths.
Spader was chosen, I’m sure, because of his balance of in-your-face I’m-a-character no I’m-an-actor stances in ‘Sex, Lies’ which also was a film about meeting the expectations of film audiences by directly phoning the sex memes. (Note how most of the sex — and car smashes — are from behind?)
This film is a big goof on anyone who sees it and thinks it is about sex. Very clever indeed, as it also explains why someone would need to think so.
Posted in 2001
Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.