Wednesday, January 12, 2011
#29: Killing Me Softly
If you see director Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine, you would know exactly why he is such an accomplished director. And if you see Killing Me Softly, you should be forgiven for wondering if that's also made by the same director. Killing Me Softly is movie about a reticent mountaineer's chance encounter with an ad executive and their subsequent passionate liaison that leads to marriage. Joseph Fiennes and Heather Graham play the lead actors as in these roles and try to resuscitate what essentially is a drag of a story.
Alice (Heather Graham) leaves her live-in boyfriend for Adam( Joseph Fiennes) and that scene unintentionally becomes a funny scene because of the boyfriend Jake's (Jason Hughes) antics once he's told he's being dumped. It should've been a delicate scene in most movies but the mediocrity of this scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie. If one chance encounter can lead to such unbridled passion, there should've been some of that oft-used word in movies - chemistry- between Adam and Alice but that is replaced with some plain-vanilla love making scenes that do not have a semblance of the sort of spark seen in movies like Unfaithful
Alice and Adam end up marrying each other and no sooner than on the wedding night itself, Alice begins to feel the strain of the mysteriousness that engulfs Adam's character. Later, she is informed through random sources that Adam has been a rapist or has been married before- things that unsettle Alice to such an extent that one night she just runs away from home in her night gown. The movie also has a bizarre twist which leads to one of the characters being accused for murder. How they come across the victim's body in the middle of nowhere is laughable and adds to mediocrity on display.
Between being a romantic story, a murder mystery and an erotic tale between two individuals, the movie ends up being nowhere. Heather is pretty as a picture and that's probably the best thing about the movie. Joseph as the passionate husband with his stone faced expression throughout the movie and little else has done far better turns in some of the other movies ( Shakespeare in Love, Enemy at the Gates) he's been in. The movie's tagline is How can you escape, what you can't resist. In the case of Killing Me Softly, you can resist it and escape the misfortune by simply not bothering to watch it for it is an insipid story with uninspiring performances.