There‘s already been enough written on the trials and tribulations of Ware/world to fill an average local library. Bear in mind. however. that at the time most of these pens were put to paper. no one had seen the finished item. Our moral guardians are usually on shaky ground when they pre-judge a film over its supposed religious. sexual or violent content; and. in a similar way. those who have castigated Waterworld for its obscene price tag have missed an obvious point. The film may have cleaned out the pockets of Universal Studios. but there‘s no doubt that it offers solid. value-for-money entertainment for those handing over their fiver at the box office.

The action (and plenty of it) plays out in a futuristic world where the polar ice caps have melted. What‘s left of humanity survives as three main types: communities that eke out their existence on fortress-like. man-made atolls; a vicious. lawless pirate gang called the Smokers; and nomadic loners who trade in any scrap. no matter how small. that lingers on from the old world. The Mariner (Kevin Costner) falls into the last category. but just as he's completing a successful deal at one atoll. he is set upon by a handful of heavies. and during the fight. it’s noticed that he's got a fully-functioning set of gills hidden behind his ears. Arrested and sentenced to death by humans fearful of any mutant. he’s saved only when the Smokers send the place into mayhem with an all-out attack. The Mariner escapes with the help of Helen (Jeanne Tripplehom) and Enola (Tina Majorino). but has to repay them by taking them away in his customised trimaran.

Enola is no ordinary kid: there's a tattoo on her back that is reckoned to show the route to Dryland. the only

Waterworld: “thrilling and unique’

unsubmerged area left on the planet. But this last existing expanse of fresh water and vegetation has long been dismissed as a myth. The Smokers' self-styled tyrannical messiah. the Deacon (Dennis Hopper out-doing himself again). also wants to find the whereabouts of Dryland. so he‘s combining a chase for this flesh-and- blood map with a personal vendetta against the Mariner.

Most of the problems during Waterworld’s production came from the sheer logistics of trying to shoot on massive sets out on the high seas; but. in the end. this has worked to the film‘s advantage. as the immense scale of the setting becomes real and tangible without the fakeness associated with too many computerised effects. The scene where the Smokers storm the atoll is an absolute cracker, probably one ofthe best. noisiest and most spectacular action sequences ever filmed.

Surprisingly. Costner‘s character is no straightforward hero: beneath his pumped-up exterior. deeper waters are running. so the sentimentality of a pre- packaged family unit Mariner. Helen. Enola which threatens to submerge the story is not allowed. Director Kevin Reynolds may not have made it to the finishing post in this cinematic marathon. but whoever is ultimately responsible for Warerworld has taken a bunch of time-tested elements biker villains resembling renegades from Mad Max. the search for a mythical land. a medieval-style storming ofa floating fortress, gigantic explosions and formed them into something thrilling and unique. (Alan Morrison)

Waterworld (12) (Kevin Reynolds. US. I995 ) Kevin Costner. Dennis Hopper. Jeanne Tripplehorn. [35 mins. From Fri [1. General release.


Ray Aibelli (Jeremy Davies) comes home for what he hopes is only a quick two-day trip during the summer vacation to look after his mother, Susan (Alberta Watson), who has damaged her leg during one of her many bouts of depression. Atop medical student who has just landed a prestigious job as an intern at a Washington hospital, he is placed in an impossible situation when his father (Benjamin Hendrickson) heads off on a sales trip, emotionally blackmailing Ray and tying him to home for longer than he wishes.

Minor inconveniences begin to mount up, until the smallest circumstance threatens to tip this holiday from hell over the edge. Ray’s former friends reckon this clean-cut kid is a bit of a ‘pussy’; the underage local girl with whom he’s just started up a clumsy relationship wonders if he’s gay; when he helps his invalid mother with a massage or a shower, there’s an increasing sense of sexual tension in the air; and he can’t even give himself some manual relief in the bathroom without the dog barking at the locked doon

Davies paces his slide from shy guy to disturbed cynic to perfection. Ray may be an intelligent student away from home, but here he’s seen to act

Spanking The Monkey: ‘understandably reai’

his age in all of its confusion and inner pain. Likewise Watson’s character is not so much offbeat as understandably real: Susan shows all the strengths and weaknesses of a caring mother and down-trodden wife in equal measures. The relationships between each oi the characters are the finely observed pillars on which the narrative rests, and it’s to Russell’s credit that certain elements remain as awkward and uncomfortable on screen as they would in real life. (Alan Morrison)

Spanking The Monkey (18) (David 0. Russell, US, 1994) Jeremy Davies, Alberta Watson, Benjamin Hendrickson. 98 mins. From Fri 11—Sun 13. Edinburgh: Cameo.


Ermo: ‘shot and performed in a low key style’

Ermo (Alia) lives in a little Chinese countryside village; she can’t abide the woman next door (Zhang liaiyan) because she has a television and Ermo doesn’t. Driven in his truck by the woman’s husband, Blindman (liu Peiqi), to the local town to sell the noodles she spent all night making, Enno sees a TV set so large, it’s reputed that even the County ilead couldn’t afford it.

She becomes obsessed, working nightly on noodles and daily on their sales until Blindman fixes her up with a catering job in a restaurant kitchen. A worker’s hospital trip to donate blood for the unfortunate victim of an industrial accident introduces her to a further regular source of income. But while her husband warns her someone else will buy the coveted set before she’s saved enough money, Ermo becomes involved with Blindman.

Shot and performed in a low key style and moving at an extremely slow pace - which takes some adjusting to - Enno’s determined quest to possess the box strikes chords in our own, status symbol oriented culture. When she finally gets her TV, the effort seems to have worn her out and she collapses to watch almost as if she’s about to emulate her lazy and overweight couch potato neighbour (who’s already wondering where she can get a bigger set than Enno’s new 29‘). Overall, an impressive filmmaking accomplishment which makes much of its extremely slender means. (Jeremy Clarke)

Form (15) (Zhou Xiaowen, Ilong Kong/China, 1994) Alia, Ge Zhilun, lul Peiqi. 98mins. From Tue 15—Thurs 17. Glasgow: EFT.

“The List 11-17 Aug 1995