Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
Italy/France/Liechtenstein/United Kingdom, 1993. Recorded Picture Company, CiBy 2000, Serprocor Anstalt. Story by Bernardo Bertolucci, Screenplay by Rudy Wurlitzer, Mark Peploe. Cinematography by Vittorio Storaro. Produced by Jeremy Thomas. Music by Ryûichi Sakamoto. Production Design by James Acheson. Costume Design by James Acheson. Film Editing by Pietro Scalia.
With this film and The Sheltering Sky, Bernardo Bertolucci has practically made boredom a genre. Little Buddha tells two stories, one of a modern-day Seattle family whose young son has been pointed out by Tibetan holy men as the possible reincarnation of one of their wisest teachers, and the other an ancient tale of Prince Siddartha (Keanu Reeves) and his becoming the holy Buddha. In the contemporary story, parents Bridget Fonda and Chris Isaak are at first skeptical but eventually are too fascinated by this strange and beautiful culture that has come knocking at their door to turn away from the chance their son is being offered. Both stories have the possibilities of being fascinating, but the dull screenplay and uninteresting characters make sure that neither of them is in any way effective. Reeves is perfectly cast physically, his exotic hair and makeup styles couldn’t be more beautiful or suited to the role, and then, of course, he speaks. Isaak is also quite the dud, and the filmmakers made a huge mistake in having his awkward and uneven performance take focal point over the much more charismatic and endearing Fonda. Visuals are a knockout, substance is at a total minimum.