April 25, 2008

Stealing Beauty (1996)

Bertolucci's Tuscan vacation, much like its central character, is beautiful to look at but is ultimately of not much substance. He's far away from his heavier work in Last Tango in Paris, The Last Emperor and even The Dreamers (which I consider a return to Bertolucci's roots as compared to this). The story seems to revolve around everybody and their mother trying to pop Liv Tyler's cherry. When they're not cherry picking, the characters seem to be in a constant state of drinking, dining, partying and throwing flat and simplistic statements about love, philosophy and art ("I think it would be great, youknow, to just sit around all day and express yourself."). Other than Irons' performance and Tyler's beauty, the cinematography is the additional saving grace of this film. I like Darius Khondji's previous work in the early Jean-Pierre Jeunet films and although this film is widely different than his later work in Se7en and Panic Room, he still provides us with a marvelous look at the Tuscan landscape and Tyler's features. Overall flawed but nevertheless enjoyable if you just relax and let it flow over you like a light summer breeze.