Butterfly Kiss (1996)
Butterfly Kiss (1996)
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There are moments in this film that are so searing, of such brutal honesty, that it becomes difficult to keep watching. Both leads absolutely bare (both literally and figuratively) themselves on screen, bravely, encompassing and embracing their fucked up characters.
The film is structured like a killers-on-the-run road movie (Badlands, Kalifornia, Natural Born Killers) intercut with interview segments with one of the characters. The structure has its strengths and weaknesses, and the plot can be pedestrian at times, but it never betrays the characters. Michael Winterbottom has proven time and time again that he is a multi-talented director, and does an excelent job here, neither romanticizing what happens nor descending to the level of clinical study. The film is, first and foremost, empathic.
I don't know who I would recommend this to, other than myself, as this is most definitely not an audience type film but independent art.
If you're sick of kinky killers and English rip-offs of American genre movies, this terminally bleak and violent 1995 road movie may irritate the hell out of you--unless you're as impressed as I was by Amanda Plummer's performance.
Micheal Winterbottom's first film comes years after Greg Araki's "The Living End" and "Thelma And Louise", but where the later lead to some kind of bittersweet empowerment, the former film always existed in relation to society at large (usually depicted as angry rednecks), "Butterfly Kiss" let's it's cast, particularly Amanda Plummer as the delusional and manic Eunice scowering the gas stations of England for a woman named Judith, who she claims to love, and murdering or assaulting those she finds to be "Not-Judith" for being impersonators. Sheepish Miriam played by Saskia Reeves is submissive, frail, and doe eyed enough to be the heroin of a Lars Von Treir flick. In fact the naturalistic cinematography, cruelty, and intensity of performances also fit LVT trademark, but the fantastic use of pop songs, the mixture of ligthness into sudden violence, and black and white breaking of the 4th wall; these uncanny shifts in tone elevate it above the numerous 90's spree films. The highlights are performances of the underrated leads, and the evocative use of pop songs (The Cranberries, Bjrok, PJ Harvey etc) that make up the soundtrack. Funny, frantic, visually daring (especially for a first film) "Butterfly Kiss" lives in a world of it's own, soaking in the calm and scenic warmth of heads pressed against xar windows, even if the cars have day old corpses in the trunk.
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