23 September 2003 | rosscinema
Argento gives strong performance in so-so film
This was Michael Radford's first film since "Il Postino" and it's definitely a letdown because Radford is a terrific director. Story is about a woman named B. Monkey (Asia Argento) who moonlights as an armed robber and she works with a couple of drug addicts named Bruno (Jonathan Rhys-Myers) and their father figure Paul (Rupert Everett) and a local gangster named Frank (Tim Woodward) is the one who sets up the scores. One night Bea meets Alan (Jared Harris) who is a school teacher and he asks her out on a date. She accepts and soon she falls in love with him and wants to leave her sordid past behind. Alan gets another teaching job in the country and Bea goes with him and they start to live the quiet life but one day Bea calls Paul and he traces the call back and finds out where she lives. Paul is in serious trouble with Frank and they follow him to where Bea is. One of the main problems with the story is how much Alan puts up with to be with Bea. Her friends are criminals, she was responsible for him losing his job and she displays a pretty bad temper. Maybe it's time to move on, buddy! But the strong point for the film is Argento's performance. She's a very brave actress and it appears that she would do just about anything on camera. There are several scenes in this film that require total nudity and Argento seems very comfortable doing this. Argento is Italian and grew up in Europe and European actress's seem to have a different attitude towards nudity in films. I first noticed Radford's direction in the highly underrated "1984" and also "Dancing at the Blue Iguana". Both of these films along with "Il Postino" are superbly directed but his talent wasn't evident in this film. It's adequately made but besides Argento this was a pretty tepid viewing experience. I had heard rumors that it was heavily edited but I'm not sure thats the problem. The whole film feels flat and labored and really has nothing special to offer. Argento does make it watchable though.