New Films: Bent (18)

Director: Sean Mathias Starring: Lothaire Bluteau, Clive Owen, Mick Jagger

Ryan Gilbey
Saturday 07 March 1998 00:02

The most interesting part of this film adaptation of Martin Sherman's 1979 play is the first hour, in which the decadent Max (Clive Owen) flees the excesses of Thirties Berlin only for the Nazis to catch up and haul him off to Dachau. Most of this first hour has been grafted on to the original text, and it's the only area of the picture which displays anything approaching a cinematic sensibility.

Berlin is portrayed as a grotesque circus of indulgence presided over by Mick Jagger, dolled up like Ena Sharples, swinging around on a trapeze, which may just be the perfect symbol of divine decadence.

In Dachau, Max forms a desperate friendship with fellow prisoner Horst (Lothaire Bluteau). Here the film makes severe demands on your patience, most obviously through its promotion of a hierarchy of suffering, in which it is suggested that the difference between the treatment of Jews and gays was broad enough to be notable.

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