The Sheltering Sky Reviews
Some books shouldn't be made into movies. And this movie/novel falls in that category. Granted, I haven't read the book but I'm positive it's going to be ten times better than the movie. In a book you can sorta withstand a character study and lots of introspection...but in a movie...watching characters agonize over life decisions while the movie's soundtrack plays is well...agonizing.
There is a scene where Winger and Malkovich's characters engage in a sexual act (not that the movie is short on them...another painful thing to watch in this one. Read: Malkovich's full monty) and all the while they have a discussion about their relationship? Huh?
It's a bad movie simply put. If you've read the book and just gotta see it, don't say you weren't warned!
i don't like any of the actors and the feminine is lost, that being the survival and transformation of Winger's character hardly does justice to the novel's character.
I felt The Sheltering Sky exploited too much of its erotic themes and did not protrude it at the right times. Director Bernardo Bertolucci (1900, Last Tango In Paris) has transcended the difficulty of sexuality and its tendency to act as a barrier to certain will power. The Sheltering Sky is the opposite approach to Bertolucci's classic "love story". What happens is travellers Kit (Debra Winger) and Port (John Malkovich) Moresby are on an expedition through North Africa (in 1947) just after the World War, where Mussolini had occupied parts of the continent.
Oh, I should note: For the Moresby's the difference between a tourist and a traveller is a tourist thinks about going home the minute they arrive to their destination. A traveller may never consider going back. Interesting contrast, much of the Moresby's relationship is infected with the tourist - just "love" itself is not fulfilling enough and it is always looking back the other way.
The Moresby's try to fulfill their fantasies and copulate (literally) on the precipice of their marriage. As a terrible calamity occurs half way through the film, it is Debra Winger who pulls through as the frayed, tarnished, but indefatigable Kit, who develops the feminine grandeur of a T.E. Lawrence.
The film itself, based off the 1949 work by Paul Bowles, does not fulfill the requirements of his text. The Sheltering Sky has difficulty pointing out the transformations and amidst all its glorious cinematography (it was all done on location), you could not help but feel the film got the look down, just not the lyricism. When the film concludes on the voice of the estranged narrator, we feel confounded not riveted. The use of the supporting roles, such as Timothy Spall and Campbell Scott seems more like a luxury to the blank spaces than a tactic to generate emotion.