From the Chicago Reader (July 26, 2007). — J.R.
The raison d’être for this three-part 2004 anthology was finding a project for ailing Italian master Michelangelo Antonioni, in his early 90s, whose segment, The Dangerous Thread of Things, is drawn from three sketches in his book That Bowling Alley on the Tiber. It’s clumsily acted and closer to standard porn than anything else he’s done, though it’s also characteristic of his late work in its sensitivity to modernist architecture and its fascination with the silences and antagonisms of an unhappy couple. The one masterpiece here is Wong Kar-wai’s moving The Hand, a visually exquisite and highly erotic period piece about a prostitute (Gong Li) and her tailor (Chang Chen). The complete washout is Steven Soderbergh’s flashy Equilibrium, a heartless, unerotic, and ultimately pointless black comedy with a 1950s setting. I guess one out of three ain’t bad. In English and subtitled Mandarin and Italian. 108 min. (JR)