Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1993. Cecchi Gori Europa N.V., Eye Productions, Maverick Picture Company, Pentamerica. Screenplay by Nicholas St. John. Cinematography by Ken Kelsch. Produced by Mary Kane. Music by Joe Delia. Production Design by Alex Tavoularis. Costume Design by Marlene Stewart. Film Editing by Anthony Redman.
Unfortunate moment in Madonna‘s film career where a good performances goes unnoticed, unlike her more highly publicized failures. The plot concerns a director (Harvey Keitel) making a disturbing film about an abusive marriage (James Russo, Madonna), that is so harrowing to shoot that the events on the set seep into the real lives of those working on the picture. Ferrara never actually makes the connection between these two events strongly enough (the strongest indication I had about it all happening was that it was described as such in the rental synopsis), and you’re left with the impression that Keitel’s character is more selfish and overly self-indulgent than disturbed. Russo is strong but his character is loathsome and he doesn’t manage to find any humanity in it, so it destroys his effectiveness. Madonna, on the other hand, is unbeatable as the actress whose accustomed professionalism on more commercial ventures is challenged on a set where no holds are barred. You’ll be amazed at what she’s capable of, as well as disappointed that when she finally gets to work with such a great director she ends up in one of his worst films ever. Ferrara’s real-life wife Nancy plays Keitel’s bewildered wife, and does a heartful job even though she’s obviously not a professional actress.