Impression: This is my favorite example of a movie which I don’t think is objectively good, but I still love! I guess I love the idea of Beatrice being a badass. Who has not had an office job they found boring and daydreamt of being a badass by night? Well, Beatrice makes all your dreams (and nightmares!) come true. She is a skilled jewel thief by night, and she hangs out with some shady characters who are purely driven by impulse and emotion and violence, and have no regard for anyone outside their little self-selected family. By chance, she crosses paths with a shy elementary school teacher (Alan) who is attracted to her wild ways. She plays hard to get, but eventually falls for him too. When she decides she wants to live a normal life with him, her past is hard to shake, and the ties are both practical and emotional. No matter how far they try to run, her past keeps popping back up. Asia Argento may not be the world’s greatest actress, but she has a presence that few can match, and I can’t plausibly see anyone else as B. Jared Harris is very understated and quietly great as Alan. And Rupert Everett is great too. The violence in this movie is sometimes brutal and unnecessary and spills over into parts of the movie where you would not expect it, but maybe there is a point somewhere there, the director is trying to make.
Another thing I love here is the soundtrack. Alan’s character likes 30’s hot jazz, and works as a DJ in a hospital in his free time. It’s probably my favorite movie soundtrack of all time, mixing 90s brit-pop and tarantella and opera and Django Reinhardt seamlessly. The decadent interiors and the wild costumes B. wears are memorable, as is the scene where they paint the walls of their cottage bright blue and red. I understand this movie is not technically great, but it’s one I enjoy rewatching, despite it’s faults.
Facts: A badass thief mixed up with some shady characters, meets a mainstream guy, and tries to go straight, but keeps getting pulled back into her criminal past.
Impression: I don’t often hate movies. I feel like my strongest negative opinion is usually indifference. And most often hate is reserved for movies which I feel were over-hyped, but not that great. So it was quite a surprise to me how strongly I disliked this small Mexican movie. It just really rubbed me the wrong way. And it was not the kinky sex scenes that were disturbing. It was the offensively ridiculous and very literal oversimplification of the role cause and effect plays in people’s lives. No, if your father kills himself while indulging in some strange fetish involving plastic, your two life choices are not to grow up to be 1. a miserable drunk who works in a plastics factory or 2. a fetish prostitute. I really don’t think that’s how childhood trauma works. The movie also felt way too long, although it clocked in at well under 2 hours. It definitely could have used some editing. The premise is not very complicated, and maybe could have made a decent short. It was a mistake to structure it basically as a thriller with flash-backs to something ominous, but unclear in their childhood. The big reveal is how the father died, which is offered up as a resolution and magical explanation of everything wrong in the adult children’s lives. It just felt like a cop out. Or is it supposed to be a cautionary tale, to not engage in weird behaviors that could kill you, because you will ruin your children’s lives? I am not sure.
Facts: An estranged brother and sister lead depressing and unfulfilling lives as a result of something that happened in their childhood.