8 November 2005 | Krustallos
Jones the Dream
This was Mike Figgis' first film after the rather wonderful and haunting "Liebestraum" and compared to that it's a disappointment.
As others have commented, Gere's acting is magnificent. I have a good friend who is manic depressive and Gere nails the condition absolutely. As others have also commented, this performance is straightjacketed into a contrived Hollywood vehicle with a laughably pat romantic ending. I was unsurprised to discover that the film was taken away from Figgis by the studio, redited, rescored and partially reshot.
A couple of points: of course Lena Olin's character behaves unprofessionally, that's made quite clear in the movie, so pointing it out as a flaw seems a little wide of the mark. What we in fact have is a slightly more subtle than usual rendition of the "psychiatrist is as nutty as the patient" trope - she is shown earlier in the movie to be extremely vulnerable and perhaps irrational after a failed relationship. Meanwhile Gere is extremely charismatic, as manic personalities can be, she is drawn to him out of her own depressed state and the time-honoured Freudian concept of transference does the rest. In addition the choice she makes addresses the notion introduced by Gere's character in the movie - how much is she prepared to give up?
There are also serious questions about "madness" touched on in the film - where does individual personality end and illness begin? To what extent is insanity a logical response to an intolerable situation? Perhaps these were originally to be explored in a little more depth.
I suppose this "accountant's cut" didn't do well enough at the box office for there to be much chance of a director's cut and that's a shame. It seems there is a much better film somewhere in here screaming to be let out....