26 January 2015

Blu-ray Review - Bad Timing (1980)

Psychological Drama
Release Date:
26th January 2015
Rating: 18
Nicolas Roeg
Cast: Art Garfunkel, Theresa Russell, Harvey Keitel
Buy: Blu-ray - Bad Timing

Bad Timing is a film that marks the end of an extraordinary run of films by director Nicolas Roeg. He made his name being a cinematographer in the 1960s but through a series of films such as Performance, Walkabout, Don’t Look Now, and The Man Who Fell to Earth he became quite arguably the finest British director of the 1970s. The 1980s would become an extremely difficult time for Roeg, but Bad Timing is there among his best.

Art Garfunkel plays the extremely creepy psychoanalyst (but is there really a different kind?) Alex Linden, who is having a very complicated but passion love affair with Milena Flaherty (Theresa Russell) in Vienna. Milena has overdosed in an apparent suicide attempt and a local detective is trying to piece together what happened. The audience also tries to piece it together, as they discover the relationship between Alex and Milena though non-linear flashbacks. Alex is a suspect in some form of foul play and he is forced to come to terms with his motives.

The casting of Art Garfunkel is fascinating; Roeg is a master of getting strong performances out of musicians like David Bowie and Mick Jagger. Garfunkel certainly has an air of a creepy intellectual, which was what Roeg wanted - he was his first and only choice for the role. He also has a strange off-kilter smugness that is reminiscent of Jesse Eisenberg. Garfunkel only did a handful of films and it’s a shame cause he certainly had some ability as an actor.

This was the first major role of Theresa Russell and she brings a rare intensity to her portrayal of the troubled Milena. She would marry and divorce Nicolas Roeg and star in much of his work from Bad Timing onwards. Harvey Keitel also co-stars as the inspector on the case, and despite not even attempting to do an Austrian accent, it is strong early role of his that is not from a Martin Scorsese film.

Overall, Bad Timing is a fascinating, fractured psychosexual thriller which two strong leads. The cinematography by Anthony Richmond is quite gorgeous, it’s a shame he shoots terrible comedies now. The film was extremely controversial on release, with some branding it’s sexual content ‘tasteless’, however it has become a minor classic in the rich career of Nicolas Roeg. The disc contains an interview with Jeremy Thomas, one of the few film producers who continuously takes risks, along with the trailers and deleted scenes.

Ian Schultz

No comments:

Post a Comment