16 May 2018 | Stay_away_from_the_Metropol
An underrated left field gem
There is a very enticing sequence in this movie featuring Helen Mirren that has gone somewhat viral on the internet recently. She's really hamming it up, turning the seduction up to 100, and she looks absolutely stunning while doing so. After seeing The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, & Her Lover for the first time, I have become far more curious to explore Mirren's body of work, as that has become one of my favorite films of all time. Not only did the sultry 1967 version of her have me intrigued, but so did the schizo editing style of the sequence. Aesthetically, it reminded me of a strange DVD I somehow ended up with that I used to throw on in the background at parties, called Bizzare! (originally Secrets of Sex).
Any way, I'm glad that the Mirren sequence drew me in... because this movie has a lot to offer and I've never seen anything quite like it. Immediately from the first couple of minutes, you know you're in for an obscure sensory ride. I don't think I've ever seen a feature film this long that maintains such "art-house" cutting throughout it's length. The film weaves very consistently through surrealist sequences, quick cuts of intense historical footage, and traditional dialogue-based scenes.
The movie has plenty of strong suits. It's photographed very tastefully. The UK setting is quite gorgeous to look at and immerse yourself in. Michael Gothard carries the film in a unique and thrilling way, through his impulsive and virile character. Co-star Gabriella Licudi is divine looking in all of her orange clothes and accessories, and she puts in an extremely strong performance. I didn't expect to feel any emotive response as I reached the end portion of the movie, but one sequence fronted by Licudi took me by surprised - and all of a sudden the tears hit me. I was totally won over by her presence and will definitely be exploring more of her catalogue soon. She sucked me in a similar way to my favorite Euro actresses of the 60's/70's tend to, such as Catherine Deneuve, Claudia Cardinale, or Isabelle Adjani.
It has far less faults than it does strengths. I would certainly trim a bit of fat off of the overall length if it were up to me - I think this would have sat perfect at about 1 hour and 50 minutes to 2 hours, rather than 2 and 20, but I can't complain much - this is a one-of-a-kind offering and it is what it is. The plot may require a slight suspension of disbelief in the beginning but once you open up to it's concepts, everything else that happens around it is very relatable and correlates with general human experience. The film requires patience but if you have that, and a love for the atypical, chances are you will find plenty to love about this bizarre movie.
I will end by saying that it does have a very bleak tone, overall. So as long as you can get down with that, I would recommend checking this movie out. It is about suicide, and power, after all. To learn that both the lead actor and the director later killed themselves in real life did not come as a huge surprise. <3