FILM new releases
(15) 123 mins *‘k'k
‘I miss the Cold War', says a Russian officer as his army prepares to deactivate ten nuclear warheads at the start of The Peacemaker. He could just as easily be speaking for Hollywood. Action thrillers are so much harder to pull off now that the old East-West divide is no more. DreamWorks SKG (Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen's new studio) make a good attempt at wringing suspense and thrills from today's geopolitical uncertainties, but their much-hyped new film leaves the viewer feeling queasy for the wrong reasons.
The plot concerns the theft of the aforementioned nuclear weapons, used to set off a 7S-kiloton nuclear explosion in the Ural Mountains. The blast sends shock waves round the world, but it takes US Special Forces intelligence officer Thomas Devoe (George Clooney) and nuclear scientist Dr Julia Kelly (Nicole Kidman) to deduce its full import.
The pair hotfoot it to Vienna, where a combination of Devoe's ruthless brawn and Kelly's computer savvy enables them to trace the weapons to a truck heading for the Iranian border. But one of the missiles evades the pursuers and the film's final act is a manhunt on the streets of New York. where a tormented Bosnian is planning to pay back the international 'peacemakers' who have prolonged his country's agony.
As the globe-trotting plot unfolds, the filmmakers strive valiantly to keep the mismatched Devoe and Kelly together, but you can't help noticing the strain. You expect them to fall eventually into one another’s arms, but the film scrupulously avoids romance.
First-time director Mimi Leder (an Emmy award-winner for episodes of ER) handles the film's action set-pieces with tremendous assurance. A car chase in the heart of Vienna is orchestrated con brio, but as we reel from the
Action man: George Clooney in The Peacemaker
sequence’s explosive climax, we can't help but notice
that we’ve been going round in circles.
Unfortunately, the film takes itself far too seriously for us to relish its pulp thrills for their own sake. Its seriousness, however, is surprisingly thoughtless, for despite the film's efforts to humanise its ‘villain', there remains something offensive about using Bosnia's tragedy as the mainspring for a gung-ho action thriller.
I General release from Fri 24 Oct.
W‘ o“ - ’ . an "
Ma Vie En Rose
()12)93mins *‘kivk‘k nly a collection of European
filmmakers could attempt a film about a seven-year-old would-be transsexual and come up with such a tour de force. Whereas Hollywood turns the issue of sexual identity into either camp comedy (To Wong Foo . . .) or freaky horror (Silence Of The Lambs), director Alain Berliner and co-writer Chris Vander Stappen have taken a refreshingly honest look at a complex subject.
28 THE LIST 23 Oct-6 Nov 1997
Veiled intentions: Georges Du Fresne in Ma Vie En Rose
r -" l. “
Ludovic (Georges Du Fresne) is a happy young boy who just happens to believe he will grow up to be a girl. To this end, he puts on his sister's dresses, plays with dolls and fantasrses about emulating Pam, a saccharine romantic character on television. His parents hope it’s a passmg phase, but their new, initially welcoming neighbours are starting to get rather hostile.
Berliner starts with the proviso that the boy is perfectly normal and any problems that arise are everybody else’s fault. Only when Ludovic Witnesses his
parents' inability to deal with the Situation — Hanna (Michele Laroque) dreads the break-up of her lovingly nurtured family life, while Pierre (Jean- Philippe Ecofley) sees his dominant male role called into question — does he try, for their sake, to conform to social expectations.
Ma Vie En Rose is remarkable in that it explores sexual difference and the nature of masculinity With such impresswe Visuals, plot and imaginative style going hand in hand. Beginning with an improbable suburban idyll not unlike Blue Velvet — which serves to fuel Ludowc's bizarre Technicolor daydreams — the drama gradually gets darker, and the look of the film changes from picture book primary colours to weary blues and greys.
Du Fresne is a natural as the androgynous centre of attention, never less than affecting yet rarely off the screen. Laroque and Ecofley (recently seen as the shoe-shop owner in L'Appartement) are painfully believable parents, travelling the fraught path from indulgence to despair and back to some sort of peace. (Simon Wardell)
I Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 24 Oct.
Banish thoughts of the on-coming winter with the upbeat sunshine sounds of Shooting Fish (Premier Soundtracks, ** * *). With a strange preference for the letter 'S' — Space, Supernaturals, Silver Sun, Supereal and Strangelove all feature, as do Symposium, who let their hair down and go metallic in front of their bedroom mirrors with ’Twist' — the album throws a bright light on the world and turns all cynics to vampire dust.
The dance floor-meets-rock-meets- indie pattern set up by Trainspotting is adhered to in Face (Island, ***) and, although the tracks sit together well, it's not an instantly classic collection. Approachable techno (Death In Vegas, Alex Reece) plus welcome oldies (’London Calling’, 'Waiting For The Great Leap Forward’) plus boys with guitars (Gene, Longpigs) — as formulas go, you could do worse.
The problem with the soundtrack styles above, is that the songs don't always rekindle memories of the film. There is, however, a cinematic feel to Romeo And Juliet Volume 2 (Premier Soundtracks, *tti), which uses snips of dialogue and scored music by Craig Armstrong, Marius De Vries and Nellee Hooper to truly evoke Baz Luhrmann's hit. An extra star in its own right goes to Scottish composer Armstrong for the deliberate, Gorecki- like build of ’Slow Movement'.
Sheffield's In The Nursery are Currently touring regional arthouses providing live accompaniment to German expressionist masterpiece Asphalt (ITN Corporation, * t Jr at ). Their specially- composed score has touches of melody, but the emphasis is on mood, capturing the light and shade (without the jagged edges) of the expressionist style in a perfectly sustained atmOSphere. An ambient dream which stands on its own without overwhelming the film.
A heroic gathering of Robin Hoods, pirates, Sinbads and swordsmen strut their stuff on Swashbucklers (Silva Screen, v: t it). Robust big SCreen fanfares (The Crimson Pirate, Captain Blood and the like) will please those who like the brass section to dominate the orchestral mix. All at sea, but in the more unfortunate sense, is the reconstructed score for The Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe (Silva Screen, it). The main theme brings back c0untless school holidays spent watching the black-and-white serial on TV, but after this initial blast of nostalgia comes another 70 minutes of at times excruoating, substandard incidental music. Tarnished memories, I’m afraid. (Alan Morrison)
Asphalt: seductively scored by In The Nursery