John le Carré's novel The Little Drummer Girl is an excellent, tightly plotted thriller, and enough of that plot remains in this 1984 adaptation to be worth a look. Sadly, it's sabotaged at virtually every turn by George Roy Hill's anaemic direction and the total miscasting of Diane Keaton in the lead role. Not even Klaus Kinski, giving an uncharacteristically low key performance, can raise this above the level of "tepid".
This is only the third Steven Soderbergh film I've seen. Unfortunately, each one I see gives me less and less of a desire to seek out the rest of his work.
SIDE EFFECTS was "meh" all round for me. Mara and Law do sterling work but the overall plot is ludicrous and clichéd in the extreme, particularly once it goes into BASIC INSTINCT territory. And I really can't stand the low contrast, oversaturated, shallow depth of field digital look Soderbergh goes in for. This, coupled with the digital projection, made me feel like I was watching a poorly made TV show.
I should be annoyed by this film's stubborn refusal to make a lick of sense, but I'm not. Not one bit. Over a decade after I first saw it, MULHOLLAND DRIVE remains as sumptuous and mesmerising an experience as ever. I'm almost inclined to suggest that to try to decode it and impose rational logic on it is to miss the point - better to just let the sounds and images wash over you and experience it as Diane (the…
"Don't you just love old music?"
"Things sound so much better on vinyl."
Actual lines of dialogue spoken in this movie. Fuck you, you self-absorbed, pretentious douchebags.
Half a star each for the three leads, who I thought delivered competent performances despite the material they had to work with.