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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Insignificance

There’s a reason that the characters in this fascinating Nicolas Roeg film are listed in the credits by their stereotypes rather than the actual people they are obviously supposed to be — Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, and Joseph McCarthy. It’s too easy to think of them as the celebrities they represent, instead of as the iconic images they stand in for. Who is who doesn’t really matter, anyway, once Roeg starts digging deeper into the nature of celebrity, both for the ones who are caught up in it and the ones (we the audience) who put them there in the first place. Even if you don’t feel like delving into what it all means, you will still get a thrill out of watching what the actors in the movie do, from Tony Curtis’s sweaty portrait of a power crazed politician to Michael Emil’s gentle turn as a man who is happier living in his mind than among other people. Theresa Russell is absolutely transcendent as the actress in the billowy white dress.

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