One of those films that has to be seen to be disbelieved. Music video director Mary Lambert draws on the themes rather than the forms of her metier to give us an art movie that promises the satisfactions of a thriller, but delivers instead a kind of allegory out of Ambrose Bierce’s Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. The story follows five days in the misadventures of a daredevil acrobat (Ellen Barkin) who runs out on a scheduled publicity stunt in the U.S. in order to see a former lover (Gabriel Byrne) in Spain, suffers a bout of amnesia, and then has to piece together the missing days, with the help of a few decadent jet-setters she runs into, including Julian Sands and Jodie Foster (the latter of whom provides the film with some much-needed verve). Martin Sheen, Isabella Rossellini, and Grace Jones are also around in secondary parts, and Miles Davis provides a score that is a bargain-basement version of his Sketches of Spain album. The screenplay by Patricia Louisianna Knop, based on a novel by Patrice Chaplin, is an embarrassment, but Barkin and Lambert both dive into it as if it were food for thought and caviar to be savored. The results are profoundly unedifying, pretentious, and chock-full of 60s conceits, including generous amounts of blood and nudity, but not exactly a run-of-the-mill washout. (JR)

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