9 1/2 Weeks (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna
|Whoa! A film nominated for several razzies which also got three and a half stars from Roger Ebert. Huh?||
|That gives you an idea of the kind of
controversy which has always surrounded director Adrian Lyne. Is there
any director who generates more discussion with his films? Fatal
Attraction, Indecent Proposal, Lolita, Flashdance. I suppose in every one of those
cases, there were reviewers who found them to be exploitative junk and
other reviewers who found them to be masterpieces. When Indecent
Proposal came out, even people who never saw the film discussed whether
a woman should have taken the deal (a million bucks for a night with
Robert Redford). When Fatal Attraction came out, feminists and moralists
defended the persistence of the psycho bitch from hell as a deserved
comeuppance for Michael Douglas's sexual dalliance. And Lolita -
I think that Lyne is a bit of a poet. His favorite subject, like many or most poets, is love. And his recurring them is that love magnifies everything. It makes the rain and snow seem beautiful and sensuous. It makes the food and wine taste better, the music sound sweeter, the stars shine brighter, the laughter louder and giddier. Those are the positives. It also magnifies the doubts, the disappointments, and the pain. It most often ends in intense sadness for one or more parties. In Lyne's world, people crave love, exult in its mysteries, bathe in its embrace, but almost always end up sadder. Look at the characters in Lyne's films. In Lolita, Humbert Humbert pays for his lust with love sickness, and Quilty pays with his life. In this film, Rourke and Basinger end up in tears. In Faithless, Diane Ladd's lust ends up causing her lover's death and turns her gentle husband into a homicidal maniac. In Indecent Proposal, Redford ends up sad and alone in his enormous mansion. In Fatal Attraction's original ending, later changed, Close ends up dead and Douglas ends up being arrested for her murder (she framed him).
I have mixed feelings about the film. Except for Jacob's ladder, which I love without reservations, I think that Lyne's praise and his Razzies are equally justified. Mickey Rourke as a Wall Street wheeler-dealer? Sure, I'll buy that. If the only other trader is Anna Nicole Smith. Yup, that Mick is a real corporate exec type. If you met Mick at a party, asked him what he did, and he told you he was a Wall Street shark, what would your reaction be? Assume he's trying to act as Wall Streety as possible, to the utmost limits of his histrionic capabilities. See what I mean? It would be about the same reaction as if you met Woody Allen and he told you he played in the NBA. Why didn't they just rewrite the script to make the Mickster a rich gangster? Oh, well, it doesn't really matter. This film isn't about character development, or Wall Street. The backgrounds of the characters don't really even matter.
In a way, this is one of Lyne's stranger projects because, although he brought artistic sensibilities to it, the script was written by erotic schlockmeister Zalman King, who is famed for erotic soap operas (Wild Orchid, Two Moon Junction).
This film is a study of the passion which builds and destroys a relationship. The very qualities that make the man sexually exciting - his aloof need for complete dominance without vulnerability, his willingness to dedicate himself completely to his fantasy world - also make him incapable of loving, or at least of expressing love in a coherent way.
Of special note, however, I nominate their sex scene on the alleyway steps in the rain as the single sexiest scene I have ever seen, period. Not among the sexiest, but the sexiest. And the ice cube scene was pretty cool, as well.
I think I should give you fair warning that this is an erotic chick-flick. Men usually find the sex scenes to be unfinished teases, while women find this to be about the right balance between explicitness and romance. The film is rated higher by women than by men in every single age group at IMDb.
That is either a pretty good reason to see the movie, or a reason to avoid it, depending on your preferences.
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