13 April 2014 | rooprect
They always fall for the trumpet player
In case you're wondering, yes, "A Thousand Kisses Deep" takes its name as well as its somber mood from the 2001 Leonard Cohen song "A Thousand Kisses Deep". But for Cohen fans, I don't remember hearing the song in the film, only the lyrics spoken at the beginning and end. So, much like the movie "Starman" which does not have the Bowie song, it's a bit of a bummer.
If you can get past that, no problem.
The film itself is like a blend of "The Lake House", "The Time Traveler's Wife" and "Sleeping with the Enemy" with maybe a dash of "Angel Heart" with its sexuality and diabolical symbolism. It takes a deliberately fragmented, psueudo-supernatural approach, challenging the viewer like in "The Lake House". It features a character traveling through time like in "The Time Traveler's Wife", and it revolves around a quietly abusive relationship between a man & a woman like in "Sleeping with the Enemy". Throw them all together and mix vigorously with a dash of very nice jazz trumpet music, and there you have "A Thousand Kisses Deep".
It is NOT a "science fiction" as I've read in some places (why do people see "time travel" and immediately think HG Welles and Star Trek??). And it's definitely not a "romance", unless your idea of romance includes borderline rape, borderline paedophilia and something even worse which I won't ruin for you. It's not a straightforward thriller because there's not really any terror. So this film is pretty hard to classify except to say that it's the story of a woman who is trying to fix her past, present and future before it ends in disaster.
By the way, although I just threw a bunch of spooky themes at you (rape, paedophilia, etc), don't worry because the film is not explicit or graphic in any way. It implies a lot of things, but I don't think there's any nudity other than Jodie Whittaker's backside shown through a closet door. This subtle style of filmmaking is prevalent in the whole movie, which means there aren't a lot of melodramatic clichés or people shouting & breaking things. What's funny is that the *lack* of action/violence makes the film even more sinister to me.
Another interesting spin is the way the story is very dreamlike--symbolic and metaphoric rather than realistic--so you don't get caught up analyzing plot details. For example, the time traveler is never recognized by any of the other characters even though you'd think they would. Also, settings don't change either, and although some characters age expectedly, others stay the same. It sets an interesting tone, as if telling us (like a dream) that certain appearances are not as important as their meaning.
This is director Dana Lustig's latest film credit (as of 2014), and I hope there are many more to come. It is one of the rare thrillers with a female perspective which I (a guy) find so much more provocative than the standard Hollywood thrillers about some dude who's steamrolling through the story trying to be cool. "A Thousand Kisses Deep" has just enough enough pauses for reflection while maintaining its momentum. Definitely give this a whirl if you're looking for a movie that's pensive yet provocative and certainly different from all the rest.