Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. United Kingdom/The Netherlands/Luxembourg/Germany, 1999. Woodline Productions, Movie Masters, Delux Productions, Continent Film GmbH, Kasander & Wigman Productions. Screenplay by Peter Greenaway. Cinematography by Sacha Vierny, Reinier van Brummelen. Produced by Kees Kasander. Production Design by Wilbert Van Dorp, Emi Wada. Costume Design by Emi Wada. Film Editing by Elmer Leupen. Cannes Film Festival 1999. Toronto International Film Festival 1999.
After the death of his wife, a millionaire industrialist calls his son home to him for comfort. The son, who has been living in Japan and managing the father’s highly lucrative pachinko parlours, brings with him his Japanese girlfriend, whom he insists his father share a bed with in order that he might recover emotionally after his loss. More and more women get added to their household until the two badass Brits have an entire harem going on, which includes a stony-faced nun (Toni Collette), a highly fertile beauty and a horseback-riding accident victim (Amanda Plummer) in a brace. Peter Greenaway’s hopelessly strange film could possibly inspire debate as to whether or not it is promoting the objectification of women or criticizing it, but it’s a conversation to be had by anyone not bored enough to turn it off. The actors are all wonderfully droll, but the pace is sluggish and the immature, provocative dialogue is too desperate to shock. The film takes far too long to move and never really rewards its audience with anything worth remembering.