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Flirt (15). Insular and obsessive, Hal Hartley is an auteur in the purest sense; all his films - deadpan meditations on faltering love and thwarted desire - are firmly located (sealed off, some would say) in the same stylised, self-reflexive universe. A structuralist stunt that's often more fun than it sounds, Flirt can be read as Hartley's arch response to charges that he keeps remaking the same film; a triptych of stories that all essentially share the same script, it is, quite literally, the same film three times over. Each segment concerns a "flirt" (loosely defined) who's being pressured into commitment. The setting shifts from New York, where the protagonist is a straight male (Bill Sage), to Berlin (gay male, Dwight Ewell), and finally to Tokyo (straight female, Miho Nikaidoh); there, gender and geographic twists aside, the scenario remains identical. Gorgeously photographed by Hartley's regular collaborator Michael Spiller, it's a droll and surprisingly absorbing film, even if the final impression is that of a formalist experiment that uncovers disappointingly little.

The Portrait of a Lady (12). The Henry James revival continues with imminent movie versions of Washington Square and The Wings of the Dove; it's unlikely that either film will take as many risks as Jane Campion does in her reading of one of James's, and 19th-century literature's more complicated heroines. Foregrounding the emotional sadomasochism of the story, Campion turns Isabel Archer's quest for self-knowledge into an aggressively modern allegory. Nicole Kidman as Isabel strikes just the right balance between naivete and strongmindedness, and there are also fine supporting performances all round, in particular from Martin Donovan, as Isabel's adoring cousin Ralph. Dull patches creep in occasionally, but full credit to Campion; it's not often we see period drama this visceral.

Trojan Eddie (15). Gillies Mackinnon (Small Faces) probably has a great movie in him, but this murky parable isn't it. Stephen Rea stars as a hangdog loser, a small-time Irish scamster in the employ of Richard Harris's gypsy Godfather. As ever, Mackinnon's distinct painterly touch is in evidence, but Billy Roche's wilfully awkward screenplay is a letdown. The filmmakers strive for a vaguely mythic resonance, but seem to confuse myths and cliches.

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