From the Chicago Reader (August 10, 2001). — J.R.
Under the Sand
Rating *** A must see
Directed by Francois Ozon
Written by Ozon, Emmanuele Bernheim, Marina de Van, and Marcia Romano
With Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Jacques Nolot, and Alexandra Stewart.
Rating *** A must see
Directed by Terry Zwigoff
Written by Daniel Clowes and Zwigoff
With Thora Birch, Steve Buscemi, Scarlett Johansson, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas, Bob Balaban, and Stacey Travis.
The Deep End
Rating ** Worth seeing
Directed and written by Scott McGehee and David Siegel
With Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic, Jonathan Tucker, Peter Donat, Josh Lucas, and Raymond Barry.
It’s often said that strong roles for women are rare nowadays, but three new movies – Under the Sand, Ghost World, and The Deep End — have the virtue of handing a juicy, sympathetic part to a talented actress and letting her run with it. All three are directed by men, which raises the question of whether women will find these portraits as potent and sensitive as I do. Yet even if they qualify to some degree as male fantasies, I’d argue that they’re more in touch with our everyday reality and our history than a male fantasy like Apocalypse Now Redux.… Read more »
From the Chicago Reader (December 14, 2001). — J.R.
The Business of Strangers
Directed and written by Patrick Stettner
With Stockard Channing, Julia Stiles, Frederick Weller, Jack Hallett, and Marcus Giamatti.
The most notable thing about The Business of Strangers, as Andrew Sarris recently suggested in the New York Observer, may be the conjunction of three facts: that the central character of this first feature is a middle-aged woman executive, that it was written and directed by a man, and that it isn’t misogynist.
This sounds like some PC brief, which isn’t generally a good reason for recommending a film. Yet The Business of Strangers doesn’t have any ideological axes to grind, though it’s interested in ideological exploration. And that points to a kind of respect for its audience, not merely a respect for its leading character.
Several reviewers have noted this picture’s resemblance to In the Company of Men, Tape, and Safe. Though I wouldn’t deny the parallels, they generally have more to do with surface effects than overall meaning. Like In the Company of Men, The Business of Strangers focuses on characters in the business world who display predatory behavior in anonymous surroundings — Anywhere, USA — and it uses a percussive score to suggest these characters’ hostilities and power games.… Read more »