29 May 2003 | KuRt-33
A vision of escapism
The first time I saw "B. Monkey" (at the Ghent Film Festival in 1998), I was amazed at how many people had come to see this action movie starring Asia Argento. Of course it wasn't because of Asia's charismatic performances this movie was so popular, but because it was the latest film by Michael Radford, director of "Il Postino" (together with "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulin" the longest running movie in the last ten years - well, in Antwerp anyway). From "Il Postino" to "B. Monkey" was a weird step and perhaps one of the reasons why "B. Monkey" gets so many negative reviews.
I'm well aware that this movie is a male-oriented vision of escapism, but when the result is a movie like this, one wants to take a lot for granted.
"B. Monkey" was based on a novel by Andrew Davies who has been writing since the late 60s and has penned many scripts for well-known productions such as the script for the "Bridget Jones Diary" and the lesbian BBC drama "Tipping The Velvet". He knows how to tell a story and perhaps this is why, in my opinion, "B. Monkey" is so much better than the usual drama where a delinquent girl meets an honest man and decides to better her life (genders may be changed here). Even though you can predict the big lines of the story, you're still surprised at certain plot changes.
Alan (Wayne Wang favourite Jarid Harris) and Beatrice (Asia 'daughter of Argento) couldn't be further apart: she's a bank-robbing criminal, he teaches poor kids and has a jazz show on hospital radio. Once again something that makes you realize that this movie walks a thin line between good cinema and a third-rate tv's movie of the week. Believable acting by Harris, Argento and, not to forget, Rupert Everett helps the movie to stay on the right part of that thin line.