Besieged (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

Besieged (1999)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Besieged Photos

Movie Info

Set in the contrasting climates of a politically-charged Africa and the tranquil confines of an enchanting Roman villa, Besieged is a smoldering love story that bridges the gap between two very different worlds. Thandie Newton stars as the luminous Shandurai, a young African woman who has left her homeland, after having witnessed her husband's brutal abduction at the hands of an oppressive government. Disenchanted with her country, Shandurai surfaces in Rome at the home of an eccentric English musician, Mr. Kinsky (David Thewlis). Shandurai works as a maid for Mr. Kinsky in exchange for room and board while she studies medicine at the local university. The two have almost nothing in common, yet she hopelessly enchants him. The depth of his devotion will challenge the delicate balance between desire and sacrifice, sentimentalism and need, as old and new worlds meet and meld in this daring and inventive story.

Cast

Thandie Newton
as Shandurai
David Thewlis
as Jason Kinsky
Cyril Nri
as Priest
Paul Osul
as Piano Buyer
Veronica Lazar
as Piano Buyer
Andrea Quercia
as Child Pianist
Alexander Menis
as Child at Concert
Natalia Mignosa
as Child at Concert
Lorenzo Mollica
as Child at Concert
Elena Perino
as Child at Concert
Fernando Trombetti
as Child at Concert
Veronica Visentin
as Child at Concert
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Critic Reviews for Besieged

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (14)

Bertolucci and co-writer Clare Peploe seem intent on deconstructing the story's interesting elements at every turn, substituting woolliness for clarity, atmospherics for real emotion and an often condescending, armchair-liberal naivete for real political

Full Review… | December 7, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

It's a film about the limits of art, about civilization at this moment of flux, and about a gentle connection between a man and a woman.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

This is a deeply engrossing, often exquisite film by someone who knows visuals. It's sensory, sensual, handmade.

July 21, 2005
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

What an unexpected gift.

Full Review… | March 19, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Given Bertolucci's impish leanings, the self-referential sequences may merely be gags. If so, they're among a half-dozen others that backfire.

Full Review… | December 19, 2001
Salon.com
Top Critic

A film that combines a stunning sensuality with a rigorous economy.

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Besieged

Dec 2010 (with Kaveh and Setareh) - This was a very good romantic movie and it got better and better as it progressed. The music is very good and integrates so well with the story. Also I couldn't be happier with the ending. The suspense is appropriate and I like the fact that there has been a careful choice to avoid lengthening the ending. I was a bit unhappy with English chosen as the main language and I also thought the beginning was a bit slow and made it easy to get distracted.

Hossein N
Hossein N
½

Besieged was an useless combination of political and romantic drama, wandering back and forth between the two leads that never really had reached each other. The movie had an interesting beginning with the imprisonment of Shandurai's husband, but the story gradually fell apart after that. There was no emotional force driving the events in the movie and there was never any satisfying realization of Shandurai's sadness. It was fine performance by Thandie Newton in the lead, but Bertolucci's lack to balance out the two halves of the story, stopped the characters from reaching their full potential, and so we could not seen a fascinating drama. Too bad.

Daisy  Maduro
Daisy Maduro

Super Reviewer

A graceful, visually exquisite piece that (on a second watch) works for me despite its flaws. The languid nature of the narrative is obviously a detractor as far as audience connection goes, but it works to establish an enigmatic presence for both of the main characters. The story has a poetic sensibility that allows us to discard some of our expectations as to what the movie is going to deliver. David Thewlis is brilliant, as always, and Thandie Newton is very strong too. That's saying a lot, since the actors have very little dialogue to establish their performances with. Watch it once, think about it, and then watch it again.

Mike T.
Mike T.

Super Reviewer

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