Monday, July 04, 2005

being a giraffe: the convoluted case of Birthday Girl [july 04, 2005]

John identifies most problems within appropriate time frames; he usually resolves or minimizes most problems before they grow into larger problems. Thus goes part of the annual report describing John Buckingham. Yet, John seems strangely at sea when presented with the strange case of Nadia, the mail order bride from russia with love (literally). Things don't quite work out the way he had imagined them to. But then things also don't seem to work out well for director Jez Butterworth. He seems unsure whether to take the proceedings down dark territory like Something Wild or down candy-floss romantic comedy alley. The result is a mixed bag of mundane or sagging moments. Which is a pity, really, because Kidman turns in a rocking performance as Nadia. Don't know about the Russian spoken, but her body language is remarkably researched. Ben Chaplin provides an interesting reading of John Buckingham, but unfortunately, the character is rather dull. It's almost as if Joaquim Phoenix were cavorting about for us on screen.

On the flip side there are a few interesting nuggets: there's a version of Somethin' Stupid where Kidman accompanies Robbie Williams (the DVD even has the video for the song). Then there are French actors Kassovitz and Cassel sinking into their parts like chameleons. Twisted all this is.

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