Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
France, 2000. Goatworks Films, Ideefixe Productions, Industry Entertainment, MK2 Productions, Sunshine Amalgamedia. Story by James Lasdun, Screenplay by James Lasdun, Jonathan Nossiter. Cinematography by Giorgos Arvanitis. Produced by Marin Karmitz. Music by Adrian Utley. Production Design by Anastasia Arseni, Daphni Kalogianni. Costume Design by Kathryn Nixon. Film Editing by Madeleine Gavin.
In this overly obscure thriller-drama, an American businessman living in Athens (Stellan Skarsgård) is obsessed with omens, seeing in every small detail a possible clue as to what might be coming next. After breaking up with his mistress (Deborah Kara Unger), he reconnects with her by chance on a skiing trip with his wife (Charlotte Rampling), whom he then leaves (along with their children) to marry Unger in the States. When it doesn’t work out the way he had planned, he returns to Greece only to find his ex-wife deeply in love and ready to commit to a Greek historian with a dark past. When bad things start happening in Rampling’s life that threaten the safety of those she loves, she begins to suspect that either her ex-husband or his jealous girlfriend are behind it; unfortunately, neither she nor Skarsgard realize that while they’ve been obsessed with Signs and Wonders, the obvious has been floating right past them. Athens looks terrific, and Rampling does an admirable job of learning Greek for the role, but the screenplay seems to be dubbed from a foreign language and the plot is uneven and unsure of itself. The ending is particularly frustrating.
Berlin Film Festival: In Competition
Toronto International Film Festival: 2000