26 August 2016



Wow. This was an interesting one. At first I didn't have a clue what was happening. This guy, Rick, a handsome designer-suited Californian movie screenwriter in his thirties, is wandering around the place doing stuff while some guy does a solemn, raspy voice-over in the background.

I grew quite irritable while waiting for the voice-over to shut the hell up and the film to properly begin but guess what? The voice-over is the film, haha, and it continues while the action plays out on-screen, with the main characters talking directly to each other only occasionally.

The film's what you call experimental, see, and if you think you can handle the unconventional format, the pay-off is actually worth it. Once I'd accepted the fact that the movie was going to continue in its distinctly oddball vein, I became quite absorbed in the story.

The film, a fascinating insight into both the decadence and the emptiness of the Hollywood lifestyle as lived by a wealthy screenwriter, is divided into eight chapters, each of which bar one is named after a tarot card. The film itself is named after a tarot card. I don't go in for all that stuff myself, but for those of you who dig it the chapters, each taking a look at Rick's relationship with a different person in his life, are named as follows:

The Moon; The Hanged Man; The Hermit; Judgement; The Tower; The High Priestess; Death; Freedom. Real fancy and astrological and kind of other-worldly, see? Like I said, I don't read the cards myself, if that's the correct expression, but if anyone wants to read mine for me, please make sure that a Christian Bale lookalike and a barren, meaningless but super-luxurious Hollywood lifestyle feature in my future, ta.

We follow Rick's relationships with several women, each of them different  but all of them beautiful. There are no fat chicks in this flick. It's a parade of camera-friendly Sheilas from start to finish. I liked Della, the first girlfriend. Played by Imogen Poots, she's gorgeous and kooky and feisty and she and Rick are good in bed together but alas, she's gone after the first segment. Off to wreck some other poor bloke's head, no doubt.

Elizabeth, played by Natalie Portman, is a married woman who's not sure if the child she's carrying is Rick's or her hubby's. Judging by the discussion we see them having about it, I'm not sure if Rick is going to be much use to her in her hour of need. Her friend's apparently already had 'four procedures' done (no need for a translation here) so is that what Elizabeth's considering...?

By the way, the naughty, sexy-as-hell Elizabeth likes to play 'footsie,' but I'm not sure if anyone's shown her how to do it correctly...!

Cate Blanchett plays Rick's ex-wife Nancy, a doctor who mourns the end of her marriage to Rick. There must be something seriously wrong with a guy who doesn't get down on his knees and worship at the shrine of Galadriel from THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Maybe if she'd put an Elvish-type spell on him, he'd have learned to keep his equipment under wraps.

As it is, he's certainly not short of female company. An array of stunningly beautiful women sashay in and out of his fancy apartment, each one (maybe) bringing him a little closer to finding out who he really is.

That's what he's really after, the greedy little dickens, but I don't know if he's going to find fulfilment in the loveless beds of the beautiful models, actresses and strippers who flock around him because he's good-looking, rich and can put them in a movie if he's so inclined. Poor Rick, having to sleep with all those stunning-looking broads. He even has a threesome at one point. It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it, eh...?

Karen annoyed me. She's one of those so-called 'free spirits,' which is kind of ironic as she dances in a cage for a living...! She dances and twirls barefoot around the place and is in love with everything she sees and, basically, you just want to put a tack on her chair to see if she'll stop f***ing gushing about how great stuff is for a bit. Get back in your cage, girlie.

A still trim Brian Dennehy does a great job as Rick's Dad. He has a troubled relationship with Rick and Rick's brother, and we're also told that another brother has died along the way. It's not all roses and beautiful women, apparently, for this troubled screenwriter whose mid-life crisis seems to have arrived a little early. Don't you just hate when that happens, and you without clean sheets on the guest bed...?

The film is a treat to look at. The locations are glorious and the interiors of some of the gaffs would make you want to curl up and die with jealousy. The music, too, is utterly fabulous and even features stuff from your man Grieg.

There's a gorgeous recurring piece of music in particular that I was humming away happily throughout the film. I swore blind that I'd never forget it. Naturally, by the next day it was gone, to be replaced by an irritating ad for cheese, of all things. Still, when I watch the film again, which I will, I'll hear it again and this time I'll never forget it. Unless the cheese ad comes on again...

Water is a recurring motif in the film. The models and actresses are constantly trailing their hands in water and people are running into the sea with their clothes every five freakin' minutes on to show how fun and spontaneous they can be. God, I hate people like that. They can't be having that much fun. It's not natural. And just wait till their mothers see the state of their trousers afterwards. There'll be skin-and-hair flying then, I can tell you.

Amidst the fabulous Jackie Collins-style settings and lifestyle and the beautiful phoney people talking about what combinations of drugs are best for maximising their thrills and pleasure, a priest called Fr. Zeitlinger has an interesting take on suffering which not everyone will agree with.

Check it out, and check out the photo shoot too. Talk about soul-destroying. As comfy and cosy as it might be financially, I'm not sure I'd be cut out for this I'm-dead-inside kind of lifestyle. And this is what people go to Hollywood for every day, to chase that dream which is in fact a double-edged sword. Good luck to 'em, I say, because they're gonna need it. 

This excellent film has been available for Digital Download since August 15th 2016, and to buy on DVD and Blu-Ray from August 22nd 2016. This splendid act of (near!) philanthropy comes courtesy of the jolly folks at STUDIOCANAL and if I were you, I'd go for it.

Yes, it's a bit arty and pretentious at times and it'll make you want to gnaw your own foot off from envy when you see how the other half lives, but it's a damn good watch and I'd give it five thumbs-up, as Homer Simpson might say. You can't say fairer than that. Capiche...?


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


 You can contact Sandra at:


No comments:

Post a comment