15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A Lost Classic,
This review is from: Bad Timing [DVD] (DVD)
'Bad Timing' is a great and criminally under-rated film from a director who at the time seems to have been at the peak of his powers. In Roeg's filmography, only 'Don't Look Now' comes close, but I would say that 'Bad Timing' is more direct, more challenging and more fascinating even than that fine film.
Other reviews and the amazon summary have probably provided the plot details - basically all that happens in the narrative is that Art Garfunkel's aloof Professor Alex Linden has a passionate, damaging affair with Theresa Russell's elusive and unpredictable Milena, and because of what happens between them, Harvey Kietel as a local Police Inspector is on Alex's trail. The film is however all about intermingling themes, obsessions and preoccupations - trust, love, hate, truth and co-incidences, and how much we really understand about the world around us. Images, performances and editing all emphasise those themes, and the effects on the viewer are unlike any other film.
I fully accept, and feel it should be emphasised, that some people will find it very hard to sit through this film. The general atmpsphere is heavy and doom laden and there are a few scenes of (even by today's standard's) shocking violence - but the unflinching approach to the material will leave other people hooked - as will one of the most beautiful opening scenes in film history, filmed in the Belvedere gallery in Vienna in the Klimt room, with Tom Waits on the soundtrack. The very last image is also (to this viewer) completely baffling - anyone with any ideas please comment on my review to share them!
The UK DVD release of this film is perfectly watchable but for more extras and a sharper picture the Region 1 Criterion is your best bet. I can't promise, if you are new to this film, that you will enjoy it but it would be hard not to appreciate its brilliance.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Jan 2011 17:11:23 GMT
Pro B. says:
I assumed the shot of the lake was a reference to the location of the photographs of Milena with the young man she asserts is her brother.
In reply to an earlier post on 7 Feb 2011 21:14:20 GMT
Colin C says:
Aha - you may well be right. Haven't re-watched the film yet but I recall the last shot as being of the pyramids. Next time I put on Bad Timing I'll keep your idea in mind. Thanks!
In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jul 2011 11:15:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jul 2011 11:17:32 BDT
Well observed regarding the final image, thanks.
Just watched it again, an excellent film. I think it is about two insecure personalities, Milena is clearly unstable, but Alex's paranoid obsession & jealousy is even more disturbing and pushes her over the edge. How darkly ironic that he is a psycho-analyst. This is a subtle film despite the disturbing subject matter (imagery, how lines reverberate and variations are played on them). Basically, Milena is a free-spirit who gives herself to Alex, but his desire to possess her brings out his latent cruelty.
The final scene disturbs but is pivotal. Milena's suicide attempt (indicating her love for Alex) and his emotional turmoil & desire, that he'd rather she was dead than live on to torment him with jealousy, that no one should possess her except himself.
I liked the opening scene, where Stepan & Milena give back their wedding rings. Stepan is the opposite of Alex, he loves Milena, but accepts her nature, though he suffers emotional pain, and lets her go. It's a cliche, but his love for her is genuine.
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