- rated - SIMMERING
This is the first feature from director Lisa Cholodenko, a one-time
protegée of Barry Levinson. It stars an unrecognisable Ally
Sheedy and Australia's own object of Sapphic desire, Radha Mitchell.
These two actors really dominate the film with their extraordinary
peformances. Also excellent is Patricia Clarkson (remember her as
Daniel Benzali's wife in Murder One?) She is hilarious as Sheedy's
girlfriend, a former actress in Fassbinder films. She has some great
lines, and the relationship between Sheedy and Clarkson's characters
has a wonderful air of stylish ennui about it. I also really enjoyed
the performance (if you can use that word for such lethargy) of Hal
Hartley regular Bill Sage as Arnie, the benign, heroin-addled friend.
The movie looks really good, it has a great soundtrack (by Shudder to
Think), and a very witty script, with lots of barbed commentary on art,
artists and art magazines, editors, hangers-on, heroin chic,
postmodernism, Derrida, clothes, cinema, clubs, and the New York
'scene' in general. To me it seemed to have the ring of authenticity,
but without taking itself too seriously: I laughed a lot as well.
The outcome is somewhat predicable, but then, I think, that's almost
the point. This movie seems to be showing us a slight diversion on the
road to self-destruction, and how it can affect an 'innocent'
participant. Strangely, the movie (and its publicity) keeps telling us
that this is a film about 'career moves,' ambition, and the cutthroat
world of thre New York art scene. But the film itself does not focus so
much on Radha Mitchell's character's ambition. It's more as if she were
carried along on a wave of co-incidences and her actions are determined
by other people's wishes .
This is a good film in its own right but, I think, compulsory viewing
for anyone interested in contemporary art. And what I really admire is
its restriant. Cholodenko resists the temptation to cram too many ideas
into her first feature. She's right: with a talent like hers, there
should be plenty of opportunity for her ito explore other ideas in