Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Dance with a Stranger" (1985, Dir: Mike Newell)

An impossibly protracted study of obsessive love, hampered by a bad script, poor editing and an unengaging directorial hand.

I watched this for my beloved Miranda - she's one of my favorite actresses - and, boy, did she let me down. It isn't a bad performance, by any means - the fact that this was practically her debut makes it quite impressive. It's a feral performance, and it seems like she's acting purely on a stream of consciousness. She attacks the script with her teeth bared and her claws out, but it isn't strong enough to hold up. The film itself caves in under her OTT gesticulation and gorgon's stare. It is a monumental performance that, at the same time, fails spectacularly.

The visuals are interesting, but they don't successfully distract from the film's stagnant pacing. At one point, I thought "This must be over by now", and when I looked at my watch I found that I was only forty minutes in, with an hour to go. Not a good sign. Supporting thesps are decent - a young Lesley Manville makes an impression in a small role as a girls' bathroom gossip - but co-lead Rupert Everett isn't suave enough to convince us that any woman would stay with him despite the repugnance of his actions.

Glad I saw it - I'm a Miranda completist - but it's a slog and she's done better work since.

No comments: