FILM / RECORDED DELIVERY
A script written by Joe Eszterhas - author of Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, and the dreadful Showgirls - ensures more than the average Hollywood measure of sleaze. In anticipation of this, director Mike Figgis was wheeled in to temper the tack and introduce an air of thoughtful contemplation, though the plot remains your average middle-age man's fantasy. Wesley Snipes is in the Michael Douglas hot seat, playing a married man who shares a single night of passion with a stranger (Natassja Kinski). While the sex remains fairly understated, the characters lack subtlety. Snipes's wife is made out to be domineering and noisy in contrast to Kinski's martyred serenity, while Snipe's HIV-positive gay friend (Robert Downey Junior) becomes a bastion of Bohemian virtue. In the end, it is the Eszterhas touches - Snipes violently scrubbing himself in the shower, furtive groping at a funeral, for instance - that ultimately provide the entertainment. HH
Face (18) CIC, rental, 12 June
A wide-eyed Robert Carlyle stars in this flawed though engrossing thriller from Antonia Bird. He plays Ray, head of a gang of armed robbers (including an excellent Ray Winstone and a sadly understated Damon Albarn), who pull off an elaborate heist, only to find the next day that the loot has been stolen. The ruthlessness and desperation of the gang is deftly displayed in their readiness to use their families as defence - Julian (Philip Davis) automatically picks up his baby son when Ray calls round to interrogate him. But Bird's sympathetic view of Ray, seen in flashbacks to a past life of Marxist activism and devotion to a pacifist girlfriend, detracts from the highly-strung and increasingly bloody chain of events. HHH
Kama Sutra (18) VCI, retail, 8 June
When Maya (Indira Varma) seduces her sister's husband-to-be, she is forced to flee her home and take refuge in a sex school run by ex-royal courtesan Rasa Devi. Bereft of any sensuality, this ludicrous tale lends the Kama Sutra about as much mystique as a fumble behind the bike sheds, while doing little for the cause of Indian women. H
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