A man tips a bucket of cold water over a woman from a train that is pulling out of a station. His fellow passengers enquire to his odd behaviour. He tells them the story of his frustratingly sexless relationship with the love of his life.
There's a great 45 minute short film to be told from this story. At over 90 minutes it's not so great. Too little spread too thinly over too many minutes. There's just not enough here to sustain my interest for the full length. I started yawning by the end.
As usual with Luis Buñuel the good parts are very good, so something arresting will pop up every now and again to keep you going.
I first saw the film about ten years ago. I thought it was borderline okay, but very flawed and a little boring. This was only my second viewing as it's not a movie that calls for repeat screenings. Once was more than enough.
The lead female character is played by two actresses to no notable effect. She is an annoying, exasperating woman. When he finally snaps and starts slapping her around I found myself fully on his side. I don't recommend the film to feminists.
The movie doesn't really work, and is overall more of a failure than a success. The story just doesn't need so much running time to tell it effectively. I wouldn't call the movie slowly paced, more dragged out by bloating the plot with scene after scene of him getting close and then her rejecting him. You only need to see this happen so many times.
If the film wasn't subtitled and directed by someone with an arty reputation, I probably wouldn't take it any more seriously than a Carry On movie. Still, it's a lot better, shorter and thematically richer than Stanley Kubrick's brick of a film Eyes Wide Shut, with which it shares some similarities (That Obscure Object of Desire could make a strong 45 minute film, Eyes Wide Shut a so-so 30 minute film).