Projections - Movie Reviews

8 Women 8½ Women

An obsession with Frederico Fellini's fuels the pretentious, deeply unabsorbing 8½ Women.  Peter Greenaway's latest stroke of indulgence, doesn't nearly match the artistic worth of his recent The Pillow Book or even the more shocking The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, over a decade ago, with his trademark copious female and male nudity.

The baroque film maker has his creativity flowing again through an opulent father Philip Emmenthal (John Standing) and son Storey (Matthew Delamere) whose business venture of obtaining a few Japanese pachinko parlors is interrupted at their expansive Geneva estate when Philip's wife and Storey's mother passes away.

Thus, when Storey arrives at the Swiss palace, the depressed Philip becomes persuaded after off screen dallying with Storey and an evening viewing of the Fellini classic, to create their own brothel of eight and a half women (the half being an amputated victim, barely seen).  It all unfolds like a perverted, weird joke that doesn't make any revealing suggestions on sexual models.

Besides the paralytic, the more familiar faces are Amanda Plummer with a weakness for bovines and equines; Toni Collette, a Bavarian nun in drag; and an Italian sexual hunter, Polly Walker of Patriot Games and Enchanted April.  Greenaway's visionary misogyny is absent as the gratuitous sating includes a lady whose only vital gift is her bounteous fertility.  One wonders what the aforementioned thespians were tickled with here, without clothes.  Indubitably, the debauchery erodes as they begin to lose their way with the many paramours.

Due to the director's languishing uneventful prurience that consists of much discourse between Philip and Storey, Standing and Delamere are ineffectual pawns for a female cast that can't elicit sensuality due to the fact that potentially tantalizing elements remain out of viewer reach as things are so esoteric that any character definition of feeling is a distant speck, replaced by a stale narcissism that desaturates the vividly rebellious picture that Greenaway attempts to make.

 
Frank
Chris
Tony
Jim
Kathleen
Avg.
8½ Women
 
 
 
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