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Arts, Film, Media

Lonely Hearts Video Club: Vintage Winterbottom

Posted by MP / December 31, 2006

With the exception, perhaps, of Code 46, Michael Winterbottom's films are generally astoundingly fantastic. (As a digression, here: am I the only one who gags at Tim Robbins? I think I was a fan in the nineties, but, looking back, I have no idea what I ever saw in him. Are you with me? He used to be cool, right? Like, before Shawshank Redemption?)

Before Wonderland, before 24 Hour Party People, there were other Winterbottoms, like I Want You (1998), which I recently discovered. It stars the excruciatingly beautiful Rachel Weisz, and the über cute, Alessandro Nivola, as ex-lovers with a sordid past.

The mood and pacing of this film evokes 1940’s Hollywood, but instead of noir, this is cinéma sablé, carefully crafted using warm, sandy tones. The cinematography occasionally veers into the abstract, thanks to in-camera effects like Vaseline-smeared lenses, adding another layer of intrigue to this pseudo-psychological thriller.

Set in a remote English seaside community, the stunning Weisz plays a townie hairdresser named Helen whose dark past comes back to haunt her when Nivola’s Martin returns to the village on parole.

While Martin stalks her, Helen distracts herself with another admirer, the mute Eastern European transplant and teenage foundling, Honda (Luka Petrusic), with a penchant for posterity: unbeknownst to Helen, he never leaves home without his highly sensitive analog audio recording equipment. Honda’s on-screen documentarian efforts add an interesting layer of diegetic voyeurism for film geeks’ consideration.

His surreptitious spying, however, is no more disturbing than the violence of Martin’s affection for his ex, or Helen’s subsequent masochistic descent into victimized role-playing. Expect conjugal violence, full frontal nudity, and a heavy dose of psychoanalytic theory.

Thankfully, though, I Want You never veers into the heavy-handed.

This film is a Best Renter, if only for the gorgeous imagery, and the equally gorgeous Weisz.

(Makes you think twice about Tim Robbins, doesn’t it?)

Discussion

8 Comments

Omar / January 2, 2007 at 12:58 pm
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I generally agree with your comments concerning Tim Robbins, except of course for his more hilarious turns in the John Cusack films (especially as the older slick hippie guy in High Fidelity - and the square dad in The Sure Thing). He also was pretty superb in his cameo for Anchorman. Bob Roberts, and The Player though, are stuck in their times - and get more an more grating upon further viewing.
FX / January 3, 2007 at 08:59 am
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Have you seen Winterbottom's 9 SONGS? I'd be very curious to know if you find that one "astoundingly fantastic".
golu dolls / March 21, 2019 at 12:04 am
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nice post
Kanchipuram sarees / March 21, 2019 at 12:05 am
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nice post
Kanchipuram sarees / March 21, 2019 at 12:05 am
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nice post
Herbal Powder / March 21, 2019 at 12:05 am
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nice post

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