New Rose Hotel (1999)
|Rating:||R (for strong sexuality and language, including some sex-related dialogue)|
|Genre:||Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy|
|Directed By:||Abel Ferrara|
|Written By:||William Gibson, Chris Zoist, Abel Ferrara, Christ Zois|
|In Theaters:||Oct 1, 1999 Limited|
|On DVD:||Dec 7, 1999|
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Hypermedia spy story -- "What is real in the world? What/who can I trust?" -- is actually a thin veil for a doomed romance story: "Is my love real or an illusion? And BTW, could virtue, mine or maybe hers, have saved me from illusion?"
Unlike Alphaville, I never get the flickering sense that this world, jerryrigging pieces of the present to represent the future, is a real place. Instead, this move plays like vignettes in an off-Broadway play about the future, with monitors showing tinted surveillance footage next to the stage.
Walken creates a real, whole character out of verbal pirouettes around cliches; Dafoe is more than believable in the mute, physical acting required by a sustained flashback montage; and Argento is more of an underwritten cipher than she is mysterious. Her part in the con, as a surefire seductress, we have to take on faith. With the elliptical editing and blacked-out backgrounds, they could stuff anything in the plot, but they don't. The fact that the movie stays together, as does Walken and Dafoe's goldminers' pact, keeps things intriguing enough. We want to know exactly how everybody is going to commit suicide by Fate.
Poorly constructed in every way, it manages to stay watchable thanks to Walken clearly having fun with his role, Dafoe helping the buddy chemistry, and Asia Argento's hot naked body.
New Rose Hotel is a great looking, stylish film, carefully shot and wonderfully acted by Walken and Dafoe, but I have never in my life seen a movie that goes so far out of its way to go absolutely nowhere. We're given a long setup explaining the details of Fox and X's plan to basically steal a scientist and sell him to a rival company. The last forty minutes however does almost nothing with this narrative. Various events which cause the plan to deteriorate are referenced secondhand, and the story mostly then just descends into overlong conversations that rehash portions of what we've already seen. At the same time the film also tries to thrust X and Sandii's lukewarm romance into the forefront when it has nothing to do with the main narrative, since there really aren't any further implications of their involvement (or lack of) with one another.
This was very much a wasted opportunity to create a dramatic, work of sci-fi art.
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