Wednesday 25 June 2008

Bad Timing [1980]

Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing happens to be one of the most deeply disturbing movies that one can hope to come across, and that, along with its explicit and controversial content, I feel are the strongest reasons for near anonymity of an otherwise extremely ambitious and well made movie. Set in Vienna, this is a haunting psycho-analytical tale that explores the darkest corners of the characters’ minds. The fractured non-linear narrative adds to the severe detachment, alienation and claustrophobia that the viewers share with its lead players. The shocking denouement at the end of the emotionally draining journey through jealousy, obsessions, graphic sexual situations, paranoia, and dark explorations of the human psyche, severely adds to the trauma and suddenly the detachment flies though the window. Art Gurfunkel as an obsessed psychiatrist and Harvey Keitel as an equally obsessed police investigator have provided measured performances; while the female lead, as a deeply troubled, emotionally fragile girl-woman in desperate need of love and affection without any constraints or commitment, is almost brilliant in her spontaneous and passionate histrionics.

Director: Nicholas Roeg
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Erotic Thriller/Mystery
Language: English
Country: UK


Ed Howard said...

I can't tell you how much I hated this movie. It was a struggle to get through. The only reason I stuck with it at all was that Roeg's experiments in fragmentary editing were somewhat interesting. Although Peter Watkins has done much more fully developed things with similar editing styles, especially in the divine Edvard Munch. Anyway, Russell and Garfunkel give a pair of the worst performances I've ever seen, and the usually solid Keitel just seems rather bored by the whole thing. It feels like Roeg just focused on the formal challenge of his editing exercise and ignored everything else. And don't even get me started on that ridiculous ending, which is just blatant shock and exploitation. I know Roeg is well respected, but I haven't managed to motivate myself to check out anything else after this debacle.

Shubhajit said...

As my review suggests i would beg to differ with your opinion. One needs to struggle with this movie not because it is a bad movie, rather because it is a difficult movie. Most importantly there isn't a ray of joy in it (not even some black humour) thus adding to the disconfort of the viewer. And the ending is too bold and shocking for most viewers to be able to digest. But i like movies that disturb me as a viewer, challenge my faculty, and involve me with its raw energy. It was a damn audacious effort to say the least, and that to me has made it all the more worthwhile. But since i admire your reviews, i'll respect your opinion on this as well.