Leaving Las Vegas

Not rated yet!
Director
Mike Figgis
Runtime
1 h 52 min
Release Date
27 October 1995
Genres
Drama, Romance
Overview
Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
Staff ReviewsAround the Web ReviewsAudience Reviews

Check back soon when the reviews are out!

Or why not join our mailing list to stay up to date?

 

SIGN UP!

Box office recaps sent twice a month (maximum).

( ̄^ ̄)ゞ (☞゚ヮ゚)☞ No spam! ☜(゚ヮ゚☜)




 ✍🏻  > 🗡️   Want to join our team? Email us!  
Soiled Sinema2
Soiled Reviews



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻


  • Liebestraum
    (”Leaving Las Vegas” is briefly mentioned in this.)



    For me, one of the greatest perennial cinematic tragedies is a film that almost achieves true greatness, but somehow falls short in one way or another. Indeed, whether it be the extremely poor choice of sexual encounters in a Radley Metzger fuck flick (e.g. the boner-breaking pegging climax in The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976)) or the phony emasculating feminism injected into Dutch auteur Martin Koolhoven’s apocalyptic western Brimstone (2016), cinema history is littered with begrudgingly admirable art that is oftentimes simultaneously intriguing and infuriating, which is certainly the way I would describe much of the oeuvre of mick-blooded English auteur Mike Figgis (Internal Affairs, Cold Creek Manor). While I have in some way or another enjoyed most of films that I have seen by Figgis, including a small chamber piece like his Strindberg adaptation Miss Julie (1999), every single one of them seems to suffer from some sort of glaring defect that makes me wonder whether or not the auteur was more suited for his original career as a musician. For example, Leaving Las Vegas (1995)—the somewhat overrated cinematic work that the auteur is best known for—is by no means a bad film yet it is oftentimes extremely unintentionally humorous in its depiction of a Nicholas Cage as a hyper histrionic suicidal dipsomaniac, which makes me assume that Figgis is, to some degree, emotionally tone deaf.

    Undoubtedly, my favorite Figgis flick is Liebestraum (1991), yet it also follows the Figgisian trend of being innately flawed and, in turn, sometimes annoying. Although a pure auteurist work in terms of being written, directed, and even scored by Figgis, the film also feels frustratingly derivative to some extent, as if the director was attempting to beat David Lynch at his own absurdist game by making his own more intellectual yet similarly esoteric equivalent to Blue Velvet (1986) in terms of presenting a semi-surreal psychosexual depiction of a degenerate white bread small town. Indeed, in terms of its handsome and well-dressed but semi-autistic protagonist, eccentric and oftentimes downright weirdo characters, sex-fueled mystery and intrigue, and unflattering depiction of the dark underbelly of a small American town, Figgis’ flick is the sort of cinematic work that you would expect from a talented artist that was hopelessly naïve enough to believe that anyone aside from David Lynch was capable of being truly Lynchian. Still, Liebestraum—a film that naturally borrows its name from the Franz Liszt piano piece of the same name (somewhat unfortunately, the film features a degenerate jazz cover of the song by American negro jazz alto saxophonist Earl Bostic)—is dripping with enough flavorsome idiosyncrasy and oneiric intrigue to appeal to the more discerning cinephile. Marinated in hermetic misogyny, omnious laconic mumblings, and tastefully lurid eros, Figgis’ esoteric erotic-mystery-thriller is a celluloid puzzle fueled by warm fresh pussy juice that manages to reward any filmgoer that does not like things completely spelled out for them.

    While I can understand why people are critical of the film, I truly do not understand how  Liebestraum was so ruthlessly savaged by most professional film critics when it was initially released, especially when it was made during a time that was not exactly great for movies.  For example, while his semitic frenemy Siskel had mostly favorable things to say about it, Roger Ebert clearly demonstrated he did not understand Figgis and his intent with the film when he wrote, “Figgis, who shows once again that he is a visual master, is guilty of a screenplay that is all twists and no substance,” as the flick was clearly made with a special emphasis put on style and atmospheric over narrative construction. In fact, it seems that not many critics understood or appreciated the film though in Rough Guide to Film: An A-Z of Directors and Their Movies (2007) the film is somewhat given its due with the brief line,“Tolling dangerously between memory, dream and a baleful present, this modern film noir caught something of the regret that permeates the best examples of the genre.”  Quite unlike classic film noir, the protagonist is not some cynical hard ass, but a hopeless romantic that is looking for love and manages to find it with a girl that can hardly be described as a femme fatale.  Indeed, the two leads seem like the only decent people left in the world, thus underscoring the importance and singularity of their love in a world full of prostitutes and property developers.



     Not exactly a study in intense method acting, Liebestraum is set in a vaguely oneiric and hesitatingly orgasmic world of somewhat ominous mystery and intrigue where the characters, especially the moody and broody male protagonist, seem to wander through life like somnambulists in some sort of absurdist purgatory where love is god's only reward.  In that sense, the film owes much to the silent acting of German Expressionism.  Indeed, male protagonist Nick Kaminsky (Kevin Anderson of Charlotte's Web (2006) fame in probably the greatest performance of his career)—a hunky yet somewhat pedomorphic and seemingly perennially sullen architecture professor—seems to be plagued with a serious case of Saudade, though for who and/or what does not seem apparent to him or the viewer, at least at first, though it feels as if some unseen force is pulling him in the direction of what might fill his internal void. In fact, Nick's essence somewhat brings to mind the P.G. Wodehouse quote, “A melancholy-looking man, he had the appearance of one who has searched for the leak in life's gas-pipe with a lighted candle,” so it should be no surprise that he is oftentimes both literally and figuratively in the dark. An adopted bastard that comes to a small Illinois town to be with his biological mother, who he has never actually known, during her last dying games, Nick is ultimately forced to confront a secret dark family history that will lead him to incest, albeit of a somewhat bittersweet sort. A film noir-ish gothic romance about sex, murder, and death that plays around with Nietzsche’s idea of the ‘eternal return’ in its preternatural depiction of cross-generation romantic betrayal and forbidden love, Liebestraum manages to straddle a surprisingly healthy medium between nightmare and erotic fantasy. Speaking of Nietzsche, the film also brings to mind his wonderful words, “Woman was God's second mistake,” though man does not fair much better in the film.  Indeed, judging simply by the flick, I would assume that Figgis is some sort of misanthrope as virtually all of the characters are loathsome aside from the socially awkward protagonist and his love interest.


     Whether plagued by transgenerational epigenetic inheritance or a curse, the film's hapless hero Nick and his unhappily married love interest find themselves more or less unwittingly reenacting the same exact behavior as the ill-fated parents that they never knew. By the end of the film, the viewer discovers that sometimes good sex can result in an intergenerational curse that involves the grand delight of forbidden love. Still, despite the film’s dark themes and somewhat ominous overall tone, Figgis sees the film as having an overall positive message, or as he once explained in an interview featured in the Faber and Faber screenplay, “I think LIEBERSTRAUM is important for me, in that it’s a growing up script in the sense that only by the two of them getting together do they give themselves the potential to carry on and go somewhere else – not keep returning to the house, not keep returning to that mother/father situation.” Indeed, in the erotic esoteric filmic realm of Figgis, unholy extramarital excursions can have positive life-changing outcomes, yet that is not how I initially interpreted the end, even though I rather enjoyed it. While the film concludes with a literal climax of the exceedingly erotically-charged sort, the ending somehow feels about as happy and complete as that of Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997). In that sense, the film is a curious artistic failure where Figgis seems to have done something that is arguably superior to his intent by bringing the ominous to the orgasmic in a somewhat grotesque climatic collage that combines sex and death in an inexplicably bittersweet fashion where the past literally takes its last gasp in the form of the protagonist’s mother while said protagonist passionately blows his load in his new lover-cum-sister.



     Not surprisingly considering the director, the average lemming filmgoer will probably learn more about the storyline of Liebestraum from watching the trailer than by watching the entire film. For starters, the film depicts two different extramarital affairs that take place thirty year apart, though the second affair could not have happened without the first. As depicted at the very beginning of the film, the first affair ended with the two lovers being gunned down in cold blood by a jealous unseen lover that is not revealed until towards the end of the flick. Not unlike the viewer, as the film progresses, protagonist Nick Kaminsky will eventually discover that his father, who he never knew, was one of the young lovers killed that night yet that does not stop him from putting himself in the same exact sort of situation that got his papa killed. Although now bearing the aesthetically displeasing polack surname of his adoptive parents, Nick is assumedly of Swedish racial stock as his mother is named Lillian Anderssen (Kim Novak in a rather unflattering but strangely fitting role) and he will eventually learn that his ill-fated padre carried the surname ‘Munnsen.’ At the beginning of the film, a rather dejected-looking Nick arrives to the glaringly symbolically named town of Elderstown via train so that he can provide comfort to the mother he never knew while she succumbs to cancer in a local hospital that is staffed by ‘grotesquely beauteous’ nurses that moonlight as prostitutes (or so one discovers in an imperative bar/brothel scene that was cut from some versions of the film). When Nick first visits his morbidly sick progenitor, she is completely unconscious and almost resembles a cadaver, but he will eventually discover on subsequent visits that she is a hateful guilt-ridden bitch that suffers from a sort of all-consuming spiritual (love)sickness that has been fermenting for thirty years.  While Nick will make a notable attempt to love his mother, he soon discovers that most of his emotional energy will be dispensed on a delectable dame that decided to symbolically chop all her hair off and get a dyke cut after her hotshot real estate developer husband cheated on her.



     In what ultimately proves to be a strangely auspicious insistence of happenstance that takes place near the beginning of the film, Nick bumps into an old college friend named Paul Kessler (Bill Pullman in a fitting role as a somewhat unlikable cuck)—an arrogant real estate developer—while the former is preparing demolition on a beautiful gothic “cast-iron” building that he was was admiring. Since Nick more or less saves his life by pushing him out of the way just in the nick of time after some debris falls off the roof of the building in what is ultimately an odd bit of foreshadowing, Paul is naturally quite happy to see his old buddy who now has a career teaching “architectural post-doctoral, pre-sexual-type thing” in upstate NY.  As Paul somewhat jealously explains to Nick, his wife Jane (Pamela Gidley) read and apparently even liked some of his pretentious, or as he awkwardly explains, “I read your books. Well, I didn’t read them, exactly, but I bought them. My wife read them. She really enjoyed them, she said. But then, you can never believe a woman.” Indeed, before they even physically meet, Nick and Jane are revealed to have a connection which is much deeper than the two or anyone else would have ever guessed. Naturally, despite the protagonist’s friendship with Paul, Nick and Jane will become lovers, but such forbidden love is a family tradition, or so the viewer eventually learns.  As for being unable to trust women, Paul is certainly right, or so he eventually learns in a rather brutal way.



     Not unlike Blue Velvet, Liebestraum is set in a degenerate quiet town where the center of the apple pie seems to be somewhat rancid, though in Figgis’ flick it seems that the most upstanding members of society also happen to be the most flagrantly degenerate as if their is a direct correlation between social prestige and perversity. Indeed, upon attending one of his pal Paul’s famous local parties, Nick discovers that his mother’s respected physician Dr. Parker (Thomas Kopache) is a sort of pathetic pervert that does not seem all that bothered that he is cuckolded by his slutty blonde wife Mary (Catherine Hicks of 7th Heaven fame in an unintentionally hilariously sinful role). At the same party, Nick also first meets Jane, who immediately says to him upon meeting him, “I recognize you. From the photograph in that book. Yeah. You’re Nick.” Notably, Nick also presents Jane with a bouquet of red roses that look just like ones that he previously gave to his mother while first visiting her in the hospital. While Nick apologizes for the roses being a “little sad,” Jane demonstrates her sort of (unconscious) symbolic interest in him by remarking, “I can fix sad roses.” In fact, Jane will ultimately fix Nick, at least romantically and sexually speaking, but not before a couple awkward encounters, including an incident at the party where she unwittingly begins to get dressed while the protagonist is curiously lurking around her room. 



     In what ultimately proves to be a very highly potentially deleterious yet nonetheless insightful incident that really reveals some of the underlying vulnerabilities of the protagonist, Nick somewhat foolishly decides to accept a ride home from Paul's party from an extremely drunk and belligerent cop named Sherriff Peter Ricker (Graham Beckel), who drives like a gleefully self-destructive sociopath and who makes the protagonist all the more uncomfortable by aggressively baiting him with rather rude questions like: “Do you like pussy?” Clearly troubled by the boorish cracked cop questioning his sexuality, Nick emotionally yells that he does love “pussy,” but he is not the sort of uncultivated mensch that is fond of just any old flowery cleft of flesh.  Although cut from the American MGM dvd release of the film (luckily, the scene is at least included as a special feature), in an imperative 7+-minute scene that really underscores the central themes and aesthetic tone of the film, Sheriff Peter reveals that he is not only a corrupt cop but that he also moonlights as a pimp by bringing him to a local seedy bar that doubles as a brothel. In this inordinately intense scene, an almost insufferably bitchy yet nonetheless beauteous prostitute named Cindy rather assertively attempts to tempt Nick with various pussy-peddlers, including a slut named Michelle that’s “reputation is built around her mouth. It’s big. It’s perfect” and a “bad girl” named Barbara that apparently takes brutal corporal punishment like a champ.  In between advertising the carnal merchandise, Cindy bitches out a blind prostitute named Annie for “depressing the fuck out of everyone” by playing Beethoven's ‘Moonlight Sonata.’  When Cindy asks Nick “Do you like to eat?” and he gives a less than impassioned reponse “yes,” she proceeds to stick her finger in Barbara’s meat curtain and then applies the fresh gash gravy on said finger onto the protagonist’s lips like it is lip gloss. While Nick shyly licks the cunt juice off his lips in a gingerly fashion, it is clear that he is intimidated by these dames and that he is probably only interested in Jane who has a similarly cerebral and introverted personality.  Indeed, naturally as someone that was abandoned as a baby by his biological mother, Nick clearly has problems with women so it is only natural that he ultimately falls for a similarly wounded soul. Clearly a hopeless romantic as demonstrated by his way with red roses, Nick's raison d'etre seems to be true love and with Jane he will inevitably find it, thus curing his romantic Sehnsucht.  Notably, Nick is haunted in his dreams by an aggressive little girl with red hair that seems to taunt the child version of himself.  At the very end of the film as the credits role, the same little girl is playing Liszt's titular ‘Liebestraum’ on piano in what is a fitting conclusion to this true cinematic love dream.



     Under the pretense of collaborating together on an article on the cast-iron building that is being demolished, Nick and Jane begin spending much of their time together and it is immediately obvious that their is an almost otherworldly chemistry between the two. Since her hubby Paul previously cheated on her, Jane has all the reason(s) she needs to cheat on him, but it is ultimately her love-at-first-sight feelings for Nick that cause her to cave and embrace the forbidden romance, though she is somewhat reluctant at first. Notably, before leaving for a trip to Seattle, Paul gets pathetically drunk and warns Nick not to fuck his wife by grabbing him in a less than friendly fashion and stating with a certain piss drunk passive-aggressive elegance, “This cast-iron building—you can come and go as you please, just don’t come in Jane.” Of course, Nick does eventually cum inside Jane and Paul even bears witness to the aftermath of their hot and heavy romance, which fittingly reaches its climax in the ruins of the cast-iron building. Before then, Nick must learn about his curious genetic inheritance and how sex and death have haunted his family before he was even born. Upon discovering that the cast-iron has been hated for a long time due to a scandalous murder-suicide incident that brought great shame to the area, Nick is naturally somewhat perturbed to discover that his father was one of the people killed in the incident. Indeed, supposedly Nick father’s father, Mr. Munnsen, was porking the hot blonde wife of his boss Barnard Ralston III. While it was assumed that Ralston shot Munnsen and his wife, who survived but suffered brain damage, before turning the gun on himself, it is eventually revealed via flashback that Nick’s mother shot them all while she was pregnant with him.  Seeming to die from a cancer that was sown in lovesick hatred and jealous, Nick's terminally ill mother is the seeming (barely) living antithesis of his romantic ideal. Although only really hinted at, it is also revealed that Jane is actually the sort of ungodly bastard love child of Nick’s father and Mrs. Ralston, thus making her and the protagonist biological half-siblings. Unbeknownst to Jane, who was adopted, she is also the bastard half-sibling of the surviving Ralston heir Barnard Ralston IV (Zach Grenier), who is also the one that ordered the cast-iron to be demolished. Notably, Barnard IV is a creepy little turd that creeps out Nick out so much while he is lurking among vintage mannequins inside the cast-iron that the protagonist manages to accidentally smash his head into a wall and get knocked out just from the sheer sight of the little fellow.  Indeed, seeming like the bastard progeny of Peter Lorre and a deformed gargoyle, Barnard IV virtually haunts both Nick and Jane, which is no surprise considering their accursed heritage.



     A sort of metaphysical melodrama where virtually every single character seems to be guided by some dubious foreboding fate, Liebestraum is undoubtedly most successful when it is at its most confidently ambiguous. For example, while waiting for Nick at the hospital where his mother is on her death bed, Jane attempts to help an elderly wheelchair-bound woman and gets the shock of a lifetime when she looks at the woman’s face and discovers that she is not only a braindead cripple with a large scar on her forehead where she was shot three decades before, but that she has the same exact eyes as her. While Jane has never seen this old woman in her entire life, it is obvious that she immediately realizes that this barely living creature is actually her biological mother. Needless to say, when Jane runs into Nick’s mother’s hospital room, the odious old bat freaks out and screams in an excruciatingly shrill fashion, “Oh, I’ve seen you. I’ve seen you with your legs spread!,” as she thinks that she is the same Ralston that she shot in the head 30 years before during a moment of lethally lovelorn rage and jealously. In fact, Nick’s mother Lillian is still haunted by her dead husband’s extramarital excursion and acts if it just happened yesterday, as she complains to her son in regard to the moment that she realized her spouse was cheating on her, “I began to kiss the fingers, one by one, and I could smell cunt on them.” Notably, Nick’s mother also later smells his hands and complains, “I can smell her on you,” as if she has mistaken her for her dead husband. Naturally, it is only fitting that Lillian dies at the same exact time that Nick and Jane are making love inside the cast-iron building. While Lillian dies and the building is assumedly subsequently demolished, Nick and Jane have built a hot and steamy romance, albeit of the unwittingly incestuous sort.  While Jane's husband arrives at the cast-iron with a loaded weapon and discovers that his wife and Nick have just made love, he simply sheds a tear instead of killing them.  Indeed, unlike Nick's murderously jealous mommy, Paul seems to mournfully accept the gravity of the situation as if he understands the authenticity of their love, thus bringing an end to the sick cycle of sex-and-death that has haunted the town.

    As to the importance of the climatic sex-death scene, auteur Figgis himself stated, “The link between sex and death is a very strong and fascinating one to explore.  When people close to us die, the sexual urge becomes very strong as an affirmation of being alive.  In LIEBESTRAUM, the character Nick finds himself in a situation where he is visiting his mother, a mother he's never met before, a mother who is obsessed with sexual guilt and jealousy for her husband/son.  So, he finds himself in a situation where he's presented with the chance to be promiscuous: he doesn't really know why, but it's a fascinating world to be drawn into.  So, what I tried to do in the film is not to play it in a particularly sexual way, but to try and charge the atmosphere.”



     While Liebestraum technically has a happy ending of otherworldly orgasmic proportions, it somehow seems more bitter than sweet, unless you have no qualms about incestuous or extramarital affairs, but then again, as auteur Figgis once stated in regarded to the film, “There is also the fatalistic aspect of sex. People are fated to get together and it’s not necessarily to do with a kind of 1960s idea of sex being good, clean fun. The cleaner and more wholesome you make sex, the less interesting it becomes. It also demeans it as the strongest and most basic instinct we have, and separates it into a containable compartment – which American film has done.” Indeed, in many ways, Figgis’ film is like an anti-Brief Encounter (1945) as a cinematic work were the protagonist arrives via train and does not bother repressing his sexuality like the poor little lady of the David Lean flick but instead exercises his demons and delicately defiles a dame that he seems like he was practically born to love.  Personally, I find it practically impossible to relate to any sort of romance flick, but Liebestraum practically had me wishing I had some singularly beauteous unknown bastard half-sister that I could fuck.

    Apparently, certain pansy American viewers found the original uncut version of the film to be so perverse that Figgis was actually convinced to excise the infamous whorehouse scene, or as the auteur stated himself, “The scene in the whore-house, as scripted – although it functions, in a sense, like a one-act play and can be lifted, as it has been, completely out of the film – had an enormously important role to play psychologically, for the leading character, with the smell of women, the taste of women, and the establishing of his character in terms of how he behaved in the situation – was not at all like something out of TOM JONES. In other words, it was not a rollicking yarn where a ‘real man’ would go in and roger those prostitutes and come out and say: I managed to fuck then of them, how did you do? Nick was very submissive and intimidated by these strong women, who also confronted him with the flip-side of the coin of how men would like women to behave, which is as demure rape victims. No, these were women who came forward and said: What would you like? They were very aggressive. And I thought it set a tone in the film which was sort of outrageous, from which the character then had to live through the rest of the film, and go through a sort of romance, and deal with his mother, and ultimately come to terms with an image which had already occurred in that scene. But at the preview the audience were horrified by the scene. They were so offended and uncomfortable, and made so hostile by having to watch this scene, that it was impossible to watch the rest of the film. It turned into a completely circus, with people shouting and leaving. There was this incredible aggression coming from the audience.”




     While Figgis made the rather absurd and virtually anti-artistic decision to cut out an imperative and highly unforgettable scene from Liebestraum, he was curiously way less tolerant of the idea of artistic compromise when it came to incorporating a quasi-pornographic interracial Adam and Eve scenario in his later experimental feature The Loss of Sexual Innocence (1999). Indeed, As Figgis stated himself in regard to his own personal cuckkampf, “At one point it almost got as far as pre-production in L.A. It was a ‘sure thing.’ They ‘loved it.’ We had lunch to celebrate and during the dessert the producers brought up a small point, something small they wished to change, something they were sure would not trouble me at all because it was so damn trivial. I was intrigued by what this tiny detail could be. They wanted Adam to be white and Eve to be black. What it boiled down to was the head of distribution was a white South African and he felt that the world was not ready to see a white woman being rogered by a black man. The script was more radical than the film turned out to be. Over coffee I refused to change the script and they regretfully said that the issue was a deal breaker and that was the end of that. The success of LEAVING LAS VEGAS (1955) is what [finally] made it possible to raise the money for THE LOSS OF SEXUAL INNOCENCE. They money was raised by pre-selling the film all over the world.” In short, for his cinematic dream project, Figgis—a mick-blooded Englishman that spent his early childhood living in Nairobi, Kenya—was unable to back down on his mission of cultural cuckoldry in the form of a film-destroying anti-fascist Adam and Eve miscegenation scenario that is sure to sicken any white man that has not already been spiritually castrated. In fact, Figgis even had his then-girlfriend Saffron Burrows—a fairly beauteous yet seemingly bat-shit-crazy chick that now lives as a carpet-muncher that is married to another woman—portray Eve and thus had the majorly masochistic and emasculating opportunity of directing his lover having sex with a pitch black sambo (incidentally, the sambo question is not exactly well endowed and seems like a burnt little rodent when in the company of the pale porcelain yet simultaneously fiery fire-crotched beauty of Burrows). 




     Were it not for its rather repugnant interracial Adam and Eve sequences and various other examples of ethno-masochism and preposterous pretentiousness, The Loss of Sexual Innocence might have been Figgis’ magnum opus, but I personally believe that both Liebestraum and his debut feature Stormy Monday (1988) are superior. An audaciously anti-American jazz-driven neo-noir starring Sting and an unbelievably young and fresh Sean Bean, Figgis’ first feature is certainly underrated and a great example of his prowess as a multi-media artist (on top of directing and penning the film, he also created the soundtrack), but Liebestraum is indubitably a more intricate, aesthetically potent, and unforgettable work. In fact, I recently had a sort of Figgis marathon and I can only come to the conclusion that the auteur has only gotten shockingly worse and worse as the decades have passed, as if he has gotten superlatively lazy and increasingly committed himself to approaching filmmaking as something akin to jazz improvisation. A huge proponent of using digital video as opposed to film, Figgis has spent the greater portion of the last two decades directing mostly worthless trash that can, at best, be described as bloody messy DV abortions. For example, I found his pseudo-Dogme 95 experiment in sapless self-indulgence Hotel (2001)—a badly botched piece of megalomanical meta(pseudo)cinema—to be so painful in terms of its sheer aesthetic insipidity and overall general incoherence that I could not even bring myself to finish watching it. On the other hand, Figgis’ most famous and successful film, Leaving Las Vegas, is by no means a masterpiece and certainly far too generic and just plain phony when compared to his greatest films like Stormy Monday, Liebestraum, and The Loss of Sexual Innocence.  In terms of his mainstream hack work like the Henry Bean penned Internal Affairs (1990) and The Browning Version (1994) remake, they are still far more enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing than Figgis' recent digital video twaddle.

     Sadly, I simply cannot see Figgis ever directing a film that can be described as an unmitigated masterpiece. For me, Liebestraum is ultimately a sort of arthouse equivalent to junk food, as a fun and highly re-watchable cinematic work that demonstrates that failed art is not necessarily bad art and that artistic pretense is not always painful and/or fremdschämen-inducing. Notably, when the film was originally released, it was oftentimes (unfavorably) compared to the superficially similarly themed Dead Again (1991) directed by Kenneth Branagh, which is somewhat unfortunate since it is like comparing Luis Buñuel to Mel Brooks. In other words, Figgis’ flick is the work of an aesthetically-inclined artist and Branagh’s film is the product of a talented yet tone deaf artisan that lacks the innate poetic flair that is typical of Figgis’ more accomplished cinematic works. Indeed, there is no doubt that Figgis is a talented artist, yet his own innate degeneracy seems to have prevented him from evolving into a great artiste that is capable of creating great works in the same league as a Bergman, Antonioni, Lynch or even a Cronenberg. Of course, Figgis in unequivocally a true auteur with his own original vision, as most of his films, especially the pre-digital ones, seem to inhabit the same fucked (and idiosyncratically sexually-charged) Figgisian universe.  In other words, in terms of British filmmakers, Figgis is more of an artist than a Christopher Nolan or a Tom Hooper, but of course art does not sell as the uniquely underrated filmmaking career of Philip Ridley (The Reflecting Skin, The Passion of Darkly Noon) surely demonstrates.




     While Liebestraum received a number of negative reviews when it was originally release, it is also, somewhat ironically, one of, if not Figgis’ most personal film, or as the auteur explained himself in an interview when asked by Walter Donohue, “I think it is. There are things in LIEBESTRAUM that when I came to write certain scenes I thought: Oh no, I can’t really put that in. It’s a little bit too – not only personal – but a little bit too intimate. It was quite a barrier to cross to actually write the film. But then, having written the film, it’s fine. There’s no problem about it any more. The interesting thing about filmmaking is that you do work these things out. And only by making these things as films, do you move on from them and, in a sense, become richer. You look at other people’s work, like Bergman. He’s worked through all kinds of strange emotional statement that he’s put on film and then gone on to something else.” Rather unfortunately, Figgis is no Bergman, but he does go slightly further than the Swedish cinematic sage in terms of sensual subversion, albeit in a curious cunt cream fashion. Judging by the glaring cultural cuckoldry in The Loss of Sexual Innocence and the preternatural passivity of the protagonist of Liebestraum, it seems that Figgis is the emasculated auteur par excellence.  Still, one must give the filmmaker credit for his honesty in terms of exposing said emasculation.  One also must give him credit for clearly both loving and exploiting film the conventions of film noir.  After all, as Nietzsche once wrote, “The good men of every age are those who go to the roots of the old thoughts and bear fruit with them, the agriculturalists of the spirit.  But every soil becomes finally exhausted, and the ploughshare of evil must always come once more.”  Unfortunately, it seems that Figgis' own soil has succumb to hardscrabble.  As to the central message one takes from a romance as raw and raunchy yet perversely passionate and authentically darkly romantic as Liebestraum, Nietzsche certainly had it right when he wrote, “That which is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.”



    -Ty E
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Claire Dolan
    (”Leaving Las Vegas” is briefly mentioned in this.)



    While it might sound like a crock of shit to most men (and women), I can say unequivocally that I would never under any circumstances voluntarily fuck a prostitute and there is a number of reasons for this, though it is mainly because I find few things less arousing than the prospect of penetrating an internally necrotic mess that has literally set a specific price to smash her overly used and abused gash.  Additionally, when it comes to vaginas, there is no fun in being able to open a lock that can be unlocked with any key.  On the other hand, I have developed a certain unexpected and misplaced (and probably delusional) empathy for these forsaken women, mainly due to my chronic cinephilia and affinity for filmmakers that have bravely tackled the subject in various ways, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Paul Morrissey, Paul Verhoeven, Walerian Borowczyk, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini, Andy Milligan, and Frank Henenlotter, among countless other examples. In fact, when it comes to streetwalkers in sinema, I think I have a pretty eclectic understanding of the subject and do not feel like I am being even remotely hyperbolic when I declare that Claire Dolan (1998) directed by underrated American auteur Lodge Kerrigan (Clean, Shaven, Keane) is indubitably one of the most intimately brutal, nuanced, and tightly constructed of these taboo-driven studies in carnal (self)degradation. In short, while the film might depict various sex acts and nudity, it is about as sexy as the prospect of masturbating with sandpaper or reusing a used semen-and-menstrual-blood-soaked condom, as Kerrigan’s film is an unconventionally humanistic neo-Bressonian experiment in the slow-burning despoilment of the soul as a strangely foreboding cinematic work where the viewer is forced to confront the fact that being a whore is more of a metaphysical affliction than a simple urban black market trade. As far as I am concerned, fucking a pussy-peddler is something akin to spiritual necrophilia, or so one might assume if they are fully willing to embrace Kerrigan’s keenly cold yet somehow strikingly empathetic and understated quasi-realist celluloid nightmare. 



     Undoubtedly, one of the most intriguing aspects of Claire Dolan is that the titular anti-heroine makes the valiant attempt to transform herself into her archetypal opposite by going from being a prostitute to a mother. As he detailed in his classic text Geschlecht und Charakter (1903) aka Sex and Character, suicidally self-loathing Viennese chosenite Otto Weininger regarded the dichotomous psychological extremes of femininity as being divided between the mother and the prostitute types, or as he wrote, “The fact that motherhood and prostitution are polar opposites can probably be gleaned from the simple observation that good housewives and mothers have more children, while the cocotte never has more than a few, and the streetwalker is mostly sterile. It must be noted that the type of the prostitute includes not only women who sell themselves, but also many so-called nice girls and married women, some of whom never commit adultery not because the circumstances are not favorable, but because they themselves do not allow things to reach that point. Therefore no exception should be taken to my using the term ‘prostitute,’ which is yet to be analyzed, in a much broader sense than that of women who sell themselves. The streetwalker is distinguished from the more prestigious cocotte and the more genteel hetaera only by an absolute lack of differentiation and a total absence of memory, which makes her live from one hour to the next or one minute to the next, without the slightest connection between one day and another. Moreover, the prostitute type could manifest itself even if there were only one man and one woman in the world, because it expresses itself in a specific kind of behavior toward a male individual.” In short, despite her aspirations towards motherhood, the film’s lead is and will always be a sort of spiritual prostitute, thus her rather ambitious efforts at rehabilitation are ultimately in vain, or so her baby-daddy concludes just before kicking her to the curb while she is still pregnant. Indeed, while the pussy-peddler does in fact manage to fill her womb with cum that leads to life, the mensch that plants the seeds ultimately decides to leave her after coming to terms with the harsh reality that she is a whore and will always be a whore whether she is peddling her meat curtain or pretending to be a proper housewife. In that sense, Claire Dolan is not the sort of film that would be deeply appreciated by the sapless sort of people that use pc terms like “sex workers” as it is a rather harsh and emotionally brutal film that unequivocally demonstrates that prostitutes are by no means typical women, but tragically damaged goods that no man—no matter how kind or well meaning—can ever hope to ‘save.’ For better or worse, the film follows Bresson’s cinematic dictum, “Neither beautify nor uglify. Do not denature,” though it gets pretty organically ugly. 




     Claire Dolan (English mischling Jewess Katrin Cartlidge, who previously worked with Mike Leigh and Lars von Trier, in what is indubitably the greatest performance of her fairly respectable career, which was tragically cut short when she died in 2002 at the premature age of 41) is a slightly swarthy Dublin-bred whore that is wise enough to peddle her puss to white collar corporate types instead of negro dope dealers, but she seems to loathe everything about her rather lonely life. Throughout the film, the viewer discovers bits and pieces about Claire’s dubious past, but it seems her sole reason for existing now is to pay off a hefty debt that she owes to a pimp named Roland Cain (Colm Meaney)—a stereotypical red-faced, curly-red-haired, and alcohol-addled mick bastard—who was ‘kind’ enough to pay for her dying mother’s expensive nursing home and medical bills. Not surprisingly, Claire decides to quit her trade when her mother drops dead and ultimately decides to betray her employer by running away and starting a new life in Newark, New Jersey as a lowly hairstylist. Needless to say, mad mick Roland hunts Claire down and forces her back into selling her gash for cash again during what proves to be a somewhat inauspicious point in her life. While Claire initially meekly abides and slavishly gets back into the loose-coat game, things become complicated when she meets and ultimately falls in love with a sloppy and somewhat neurotic taxi-driver named Elton Garrett (Vincent D'Onofrio in one of the many underrated and largely unseen performances of his rather singular acting career) who treats her a whole lot better than a blowup doll. In fact, not long after meeting, Elton reveals his keen sensitivity and strong altruistic sense of intimacy by performing cunnilingus on Claire, so naturally she is somewhat freaked out when a john attempts the same thing a couple days later and thus further compounds her rather schizophrenic sense of sexuality.  As demonstrated by a scene where she angrily kicks out a man that she had a soulless one-night-stand with, Claire has a lot of pent of (self)hatred, confusion, and anxiety when it comes to sex, yet Elton manages to completely change that, at least momentarily.

    Undoubtedly an emotionally battered beta-male of sorts that seems to have a pathological compulsion to try to save forsaken women, Elton even opts to stay with Claire after discovering that she is a prostitute and is on prescription drugs to treat STDs, though he is certainly painfully self-conscious about the situation like any half-sane self-respecting man would be. Of course, to settle for such a damaged woman who literally cucks him for cash, Elton has to be an extremely wounded individual himself, which is probably, at least partially, the result of being a divorced father that only gets to see his adolescent daughter every once in a while. Indeed, if Claire and Elton have anything in common, it is that they are both decidedly debased and degraded virtual human-punching-bags that have mostly lived their lives serving others while failing to take of themselves in the process. Naturally, you cannot help people that do not want to help themselves, but Elton tries and almost immediately begins giving Claire money to pay off her debt to Roland. When Claire stoically declares to Elton on a rooftop, “I want to have a child” and he simply replies, “Are you sure?,” she demonstrates her seriousness by responding with the utmost stoicism, “Yes. We can make it work.” Naturally, as a relationship involving two terribly emotionally damaged individuals, it does not work, but Claire at least gets the baby, which was obviously her main motivation. Indeed, while she loses her mother at the beginning of the film, Claire still manages to continue the so-called ‘circle of life’ by creating a (bastard) child of her own. 



     Right from the get-go of the film when we are first introduced to Claire as she attempts to flirt with a nameless/faceless john on a payphone, it is immediately apparent that, on top of selling both her sex and soul, she lies for a living. Indeed, aside from pretending to enjoy having sex with strange men and dressing in a slutty way that she clearly does not enjoy, Claire spends her free time telling potential johns over the phone with a monotone dispassionate voice things like, “I wanna be with you. I can be at your hotel in ten minutes […] I want you to fuck me.” In fact, Claire has such a decidedly degraded and depressing essence that it is a surprise that any man would want to fuck her lest they succumb to the emasculating shame of erectile dysfunction.  In fact, Claire looks like she is more aroused at the prospect at castrating men than engaging in coitus with them. Of course, Claire is also not a particularly pulchritudinous pussy-peddler as she looks like she could be the emo big sister of Anne Frank and not like the sort of overtly lecherous chick that has a talent for downing Brobdingnagian dicks or engaging in the art of double penetration, but of course that is why she might appeal to certain strange men. In fact, Claire is sometimes stalked by sadists and degenerates that seem attracted to the special brand of degradation that she practically radiates. Luckily, Claire has managed to project a rough exterior. For example, when a young ugly hood approaches her at a diner and reveals his intent to sexually defile her, Claire emasculates the man by audaciously replying that she would prefer banging his friend because he is “better looking.”

    Of course, Claire’s ‘tough bitch’ routine is nothing but a carefully crafted act and she is just like everyone else in the sense that she desires to be loved, hence her attraction to the inordinate sensitivity of Elton.  While Claire certainly gets to exploit her talent for extra wanton female wiles, she is also incapable of using classic feminine weapons, including the exploitation of the stereotype of female weakness, or as Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “The Strength of the Weak.—Women are all skillful in exaggerating their weaknesses, indeed they are inventive in weaknesses, so as to seem quite fragile ornaments to which even a grain of dust does harm; their existence is meant to bring home to man's mind his coarseness, and to appeal to his conscience.  They thus defend themselves against the strong and all ‘rights of might.’”  Not only does Claire work in a deleterious trade of the flesh that involves her customers, who technically engage in a crime or two just to procure her services, leaving their consciences at home, but she also cannot afford to show weakness as it could get her raped or even killed, or so the film hints in its rather unflattering depiction of everyday bipedal sidewalk scum.



     Undoubtedly, out of the three main characters of the film, mick pimp Roland—a man that unquestionably personifies everything that I find repugnant about the stereotypical Irish phenotype —is, in many ways, the most magnetic yet understatedly monstrous. While the viewer does not learn much about Roland aside from the fact that he is a proud traditional family man and that he uses a bourgeois bar as a sort of front/hang-out for his prestigious slut-slinging enterprise, the viewer is exposed to the imperative little detail that he has actually known Claire every since she was just a wee little girl, thus making his relationship with her seem all the more sick and morbid. As hinted by a random photograph that appears in the film, Claire’s mother seems to have been friends with Roland and was probably also one of his whores in the past, hence why he was probably helping to foot her hospital bills. Despite their deep-rooted history together, Claire seems to both deeply hate and fear Roland, hence her rather sneaky failed initial attempt to escape his wrath. Needless to say, Roland can be pretty emotionally brutal to the anti-heroine as demonstrated by rather rude remarks to her like, “You’re looking worn, Claire. How many years do you think you got left? Two, maybe three? What are you going to do when you start falling apart? Push your pussy on the street for 20 bucks a pop? You’re not a new girl.” Still, at the same time, Roland is a completely practical man that willing to honor a deal and freely releases Claire from her bondage when she finally manages to pay off her hefty debt.  Needless to say, Roland has very little faith that Claire could excel at anything aside from peddling heir puss, but she is fanatically determined to prove him otherwise.

    While Roland certainly gives Claire some tough lessons about life, he ultimately provides poor hopeless sap Elton with the greatest lesson and gives some harsh yet true insights about life that seem to completely change his worldview, at least on the highly personalized level. Indeed, when Elton randomly approaches him in an aggressive fashion at his bar, Roland hits him in the family jewels and then angrily states whilst grabbing him in a rather painful position, “I don’t like to repeat myself, so listen carefully. She may have paid me off, but she’ll never quit. I’ve known Claire since she was 12-years-old and I knew then what I know now—that deep inside, she’s a whore. She was born a whore . . . she’ll die a whore.” After kicking his ass and doing his nice little perennial whore spiel, Roland, who is not an unreasonable man, proceeds to act friendly toward Elton by giving him some whisky and leaving him with the following thought, “I know it’s hard, but try to accept what I told you. You’ll have a happier life and be a better person for it. It’s time you started looking after yourself. You’re not a little boy anymore.”  Undoubtedly, had Roland not kicked his ass, Elton might have been made the biggest mistake of his life and settled down with a woman that seems to have a different STD every other week.




     While Roland clearly knows next to nothing about Elton, he, like any good pimp, is a highly intuitive individual and can clearly sense that he’s a broken emotional cripple that has the unfortunate self-destructive compulsion to want to help other broken emotional cripples, hence his dubious love for a godforsaken second-hand Sue like Claire. While it is immediately apparent after he discovers that Claire is a prostitute that he is extremely bothered by her curious choice of trade and that he should not be involved in such a decidedly deleterious and clearly foredoomed relationship, Elton is clearly a victim of his own low self-esteem and misplaced empathy. In short, getting the shit beat out him by a pimp was probably the best thing that ever happened to Elton as he probably would have lacked the testicular fortitude to break up with Claire otherwise. At the very end of the film, it is revealed that Elton ultimately made the right choice as he ended up with a much cleaner and ladylike woman. Indeed, in the very last sequence of the film, Elton is depicted a couple years later randomly running into Roland while he is with his new extremely nice pregnant blonde wife Madeline. Notably, Roland states to Elton in regard to kids, “It’s the best thing that’ll ever happen to you. It changes everything. You can’t stop with one! You gotta keep on having them.” When Elton’s wife asks how he knows her husband, Roland somewhat humorously states, “We knew each other years ago in another life. It’s funny how time passes.” Of course, it is doubtful that Elton’s wife knows that he has a bastard son with Claire.

    Of course, as the bastard son of a whore, Claire and Roland’s son probably has a good chance of growing up to be a rent boy, tranny freak, druggie, and/or some other sort of irredeemable urban concrete-pounding degenerate. Additionally, even if Elton had not left Claire, their love affair would have undoubtedly been doomed to failure as it was built on extreme doubt and lies. After all, as Weininger once wrote when describing the mother and prostitute archetypes, “Whether a woman will meet a man who can make her the mother of his child through his mere presence is a matter of chance. To that extent it is imaginable that the destinies of many mothers and prostitutes could have turned out the opposite of what they have actually become. On the other hand, there are not only countless examples of women remaining true to the type of the mother even without such a man, but there are also doubtless cases in which this man does present himself and even his presence fails to prevent the woman from finally and irrevocably turning to prostitution.” In a sense, Elton acts as a sort of ‘emotional prostitute’ to Claire to the point of providing her with what she wants most but cannot seem to acquire: a child. Of course, Elton completely lacked the strength and sense to transform Claire into a real ‘mother,’ but then again even sub-literate rappers and gang-bangers know that you cannot turn a whore into a housewife. 



     As a sort of unintentional connoisseur of call-girl cinema of all sorts and someone with an interest in perversity and abnormal psychology in general, among other things, I do not feel I am committing puffery when I say that Claire Dolan is unequivocally one of the greatest and most effortlessly emotionally grueling depictions of a pussy-peddler ever committed to celluloid. Indeed, while there are a number of films ranging from Federico Fellini’s early classic The Nights of Cabiria (1957) to Andy Milligan’s gritty classic exploitation piece Fleshpot on 42nd Street (1973) to Ken Russell’s weirdly high-camp Crimes of Passion (1984) to Mike Figgis' endearingly pathetic Leaving Las Vegas (1995) that depict the seeming incapacity of prostitutes to find real lasting love or even simple emotional connections, Kerrigan’s underrated film is arguably more effective than any other cinematic work of the same sort in that it manages to intimately communicate the almost intolerably grating emotions associated with such abject romantic forsakenness. In that sense, the film is quite comparable to Kerrigan’s equally potent debut feature Clean, Shaven (1994) in terms of its gratingly viscerally authentic approach to the virtually never good, very bad, and uniquely ugly reality of living with a sort of metaphysical affliction. Also, like the director’s debut, Claire Dolan mostly shies away from any overt political subtexts aside from a mostly superficial critique of the evils of capitalism, though it could arguably be interpreted as left-wing or right-wing. Undoubtedly, the film's fairly obvious theme of capitalistic degradation is pretty much summed up when a random john acts inordinately empathetic towards Claire and makes the heartfelt speech just before, rather ironically, defiling her frail body, “It’s ok. I understand. I used to do a lot of things for money. Things that I hated. Things that got inside me and tore me up, but I learned to push it away and seal it off. The worst part—the thing that I kept coming back to—was that I couldn’t completely understand how I got into those positions. I couldn’t figure out what it was inside me that allowed me to accept those things. For years, I thought I was different from everybody—in a bad way. I had no one to turn to, to get myself straight. It took me years to realize that I wasn’t a freak. There are a lot of people out there that do things that tear them up—that they hate. Do you understand what I mean? Just try not to think about it.” Like Iranian auteur Sohrab Shahid Saless’ hard ghetto West German epic Utopia (1983)—a similarly painfully raw and gritty yet slightly less intimate portrait of pussy-peddling—the film cuts sharply into the soul with an acidic pathos-laced knife as wielded by the most forlorn of female fuck machines; or, tears of (anti)eros. 



     In the eyes of left-wing Nietzschean Georges Bataille, virtually all women have the capacity to be capitalists of the cunt that see their pussy as always having a very specific price, or as the degenerate frog once wrote, “Not every woman is a potential prostitute, but prostitution is the logical consequence of the feminine attitude. In so far as she is attractive, a woman is a prey to men’s desire. Unless she refuses completely because she is determined to remain chaste, the question is at what price and under what circumstances will she yield. But if the conditions are fulfilled she always offers herself as an object. Prostitution proper only brings in a commercial element. By the care she lavishes on her toilet, by the concern she has for her beauty set off by her adornment, a woman regards herself as an object always trying to attract men’s attention. Similarly if she strips naked she reveals the object of a man’s desire, an individual and particular object to be prized.” Of course, the great irony of Claire Dolan is that it is only through the very same prostitution that led to her personal debasement that the titular twat acquires her freedom and capacity for motherhood. Indeed, in a sick semitic sort of way, Claire owes her sense of personal sovereignty to selling her cunt to be used as a virtual all-purpose public porta-potty. On the other hand, Bataille believed that “Prostitution seems to have been simply a complement to marriage in the first place.” Still, Bataille—an unhinged mensch that married a Jewess at a time when it was less than vogue who seemed to fetish things simply because they were sick and repellent, including eggs-in-pussies and human sacrifice, among other things—might as well have been summing up the metaphysical employment resume of Claire when he wrote, “The lowest kind of prostitute has fallen as far as she can go. She might be no less indifferent to the taboo than animals are except that because what she knows about taboos is that others observe them, she cannot attain an absolute indifference; not only has she fallen but she knows she has. She knows she is a human being. Even if she is not ashamed of it, she does know that she lives like a pig.” After all, she does not seem all that terribly shocked when her special savior Elton eventually leaves her, but she probably first and foremost wanted him to knock her up, thus he arguably becomes the exploited whore in the end yet he still greatly pays for it, at least both emotionally and monetarily speaking.  In short, Claire Dolan contains the relatively simple but extremely imperative message that one should not dip their dick in a dirty dasher dame's dearest bodily part lest they seek cuckoldry and extreme emasculation, among other obscenely odious things.




     According to Weininger, “The prostitute is very different. She at least lives her own life fully, even if—in extreme cases—she is punished for this by being excluded from society. Rather than being brave as the mother is, she is a coward through and through, but she always posses the correlative of cowardice, which is impudence, and thus she is at least brazenly shameless.” Of course, the same could be said of artists, especially good ones. In fact, somewhat ironically, Weininger argues that prostitutes share much in common with great men/leaders of history—another obsession of artists—arguing, “The unique phenomenon of the great man of action has always had a powerful attraction for artists in particular (but also for philosophical writers). The surprising unanimity displayed in this respect will perhaps make it easier to approach the phenomenon by means of conceptual analysis. Mark Antony (Caesar) and Cleopatra are not altogether unlike each other. Initially, most people will probably regard this parallel as quite fanciful, and yet the existence of a close analogy seems to me to be beyond any doubt, however different the two persons may at first sight appear. The ‘great man of action’ renounces any inner life in order to express himself (the term is appropriate here) fully in the external world, and to suffer the fate of everything that expires, rather than achieving the permanence of everything that is internalized. He tosses his whole value behind him and keeps it at arm’s length with all his might. Similarly, the great prostitute flings the value that she would be able to obtain from being a mother into the face of society, not in order to take stock of herself and to embark on life of contemplation, but in order to give completely free rein to her sensual urges. Both the great prostitute and the great tribune are like firebrands which, when lit, illuminate vast expanses, pile corpses on corpses as they pass, and fad out like meteors, without contributing anything worthwhile and meaningful to human wisdom, without leaving anything permanent behind, without any sign of eternity—while the mother and the genius quietly work for the future. Both the prostitute and the tribune, therefore, are perceived as ‘scourges of God,’ as anti-moral phenomena.” Of course, this would explain why prostitutes, not unlike great men, are among the most intriguing and intricate female characters of cinema history, just as archetypical mothers tend to be the most banal and one-dimensional. Certainly, Peter O'Toole's performance as a great man in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962) has something particularly whorish and wonderfully immoral about it. By dedicating himself to the melancholy and even morose life and times of a walking and talking sex object, auteur Kerrigan, despite his modernist art fag cred and his fairly young age at the time of directing the film, reveals himself to be a timeless artist with a knack for depicting ancient perennial archetypes in a relatively idiosyncratic fashion.  Needless to say, I think I would rather enjoy seeing Kerrigan directing a film about a historical great man, though I think he is probably more fit for making a film about Nietzsche or even SS-Oberführer Oskar Dirlewanger.



    It is undoubtedly fitting and even somewhat ironic that one of Kerrigan’s greatest cinematic achievements is a film about the metaphysical perils of prostitution as he has, rather unfortunately, been forced to spend the greater portion of his somewhat uneven filmmaking career prostituting himself out to projects that are surely beneath him. Indeed, aside from the singularly artistically tragic bad luck he suffered when his fully finished feature In God's Hands starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard was scrapped in 2002 due to what the director described as “technical issues with the negative” as a result of some insipid retard destroying it in a lab, Kerrigan has spent most of the 2010s directing episodes for lame and/or generic TV series like Homeland (2012, Episode: “State of Independence”), Longmire (2013, Episode: “Carcasses”), Bates Motel (2014; Episode: “Caleb”), and Starz' patently pointless TV adaptation of Steven Soderbergh's pretentious turd The Girlfriend Experience (2009), among various other examples. On the other hand, it does make some sense that the auteur would tackle The Girlfriend Experience (2016-current), which was just renewed for a second season and which he is once again co-writing and co-directing in collaboration with vaguely attractive Mumblecore veteran Amy Seimetz. Aside from his TV work, Kerrigan also directed the French-American co-production Rebecca H. (Return to the Dogs) (2010)—a French-language flick about a crazy frog bitch that supposedly wants to be Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick—though the film seems to be impossible to find (as far as I know, it has never been released in any home media format) and it has received mostly terrible views, which is no surprise considering it contains a particularly preposterous premise that seems inconsistent with the director's previous cinematic efforts. Still, Kerrigan’s first three features—Clean, Shaven, Claire Dolan, and Keane—are good enough to secure Kerrigan’s place in cinema history as one of the most underrated and uncompromising  American auteurs that has ever lived. As Ingmar Bergman revealed with his covertly spiritually autobiographical film Ansiktet (1958) aka The Magician, the life of an artist can sometimes be more degrading than a whore.

    In his fairly favorable 3.5 out of 4 star review of Claire Dolan, Roger Ebert concludes with the following somewhat humorous sentences, “I think Claire Dolan will make a good mother. I think she can make it work. Not with Elton, but by herself, which is the only way she can live and not have to lie.” Of course, as the film subtly hints, Claire’s mother was probably a whore too that was responsible for turning her daughter onto prostitution so she’s probably somewhat ill-equipped to be a mother, not to mention the fact that being fatherless is one of the biggest prerequisites for failure and criminality in life (as a childless celebrity that settled on an overweight and unattractive, I sincerely doubt that Ebert knew much about women). Indeed, I can only feel sorry for the kid but then I am reminded of Nietzsche’s quote, “Where are thy greatest dangers?—in pity.” Speaking of Nietzsche, who may have owed his break with sanity to syphilis that he obtained from a whore, he was certainly onto something when he wrote, “Praise in Choice.—The artist chooses his subjects; that is his mode of praising,” though I think in Kerrigan’s case it is more about empathy. Undoubtedly an acutely sensitive empath, Kerrigan has revealed an inordinate love and affection for the trash and rabble of society that is almost Christly in character.  In that sense, Claire Dolan is Kerrigan's tribute to Mary Magdalene, but of course the auteur does not have any use for the Virgin Mary.



    -Ty E
    ...
    (Review Source)

Want even more consensus?

Skip Rotten Tomatoes, they’re biased SJWs too afraid to criticize things like the Ghost Busters reboot. Avoid giving them ad revenue by using the minimalist alternative, Cinesift, for a quick aggregate:

 🗣️ Know of another conservative review that we’re missing?
Leave a link in the comments below or email us!  

What’d you think? Let us know with a video:

Record a webcam review!

Or anonymous text review:

Submit your review
1
2
3
4
5
1
2
3
4
5
1
2
3
4
5
1
2
3
4
5
1
2
3
4
5
1
2
3
4
5
1
2
3
4
5
Submit
     
Cancel

Create your own review

Average rating:  
 0 reviews
Overall Hollywood Bs Average rating:  
 
Anti-patriotism Average rating:  
 
Misandry Average rating:  
 
Affirmative action Average rating:  
 
LGBTQ rstuvwxyz Average rating:  
 
Anti-God Average rating:  
 

Buy on Amazon:
⚠️ Comment freely, but please respect our young users.
👍🏻 Non PC comments/memes/vids/links 
👎🏻  Curse words / NSFW media / JQ stuff
👌🏻  Visit our 18+  free speech forum to avoid censorship.
⚠️ Keep your kids’ websurfing safe! Read this.

Share this page:

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail