Thursday, January 14, 2010


(Patrick Jamain, 1985)
Not exactly tragic, but certainly sad, and more so for being so predictable - almost as soon as the premise is set up you can guess where it will go wrong. The direction does wring a nice crescendo of entrapment from the marriage-of-convenience-gone-awry premise, and does an adequate job at sleazing up the New York setting. The actors are capable too, although they suffer when the volume rises. It doesn't matter though - as soon as John Shea's twinkly Zoo Story psychopath forces his way into Nathalie Baye's apartment, you know that she will be obliged to develop feelings for the shmuck. And as soon as Shea drags Baye down to Coney Island to re-enact the murder of his first wife, you know that she's going to only tap him once lightly with that baseball bat and leave the straight razor lying at his side. Why, God, why? You can't blame it on the genre, because Jamain has spent the whole movie actively exploring the theme of misogyny as psychosis - it's self-aware, and so your brain is on, and so the stupid stuff is no fun. Thus, you're stuck with your abiding desire to kick Shea's character (not Shea, who does his best) in the balls. This movie's pedigree may be more French than Canadian, but it does carry the torch for our national mini-tradition of transcendently obnoxious male leads.

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