Figgis’s Ham-Handed Two Hander

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Miss Julie
Directed by Mike Figgis
Adapted by Helen Cooper from August Strindberg’s play
A United Artists release

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Smack in the middle of Miss Julie, Mike Figgis’s frenetic and grossly self-aggrandizing adaption of Strindberg’s worse-for-wear two-hander about the battle between the sexes and the classes, the neurotic lady of the house (the beautiful but appallingly inept Saffron Burrows) is deflowered by her father’s ambitious footman (Peter Mullan, who at least is not as embarrassing as his costar). Figgis splits the screen in two for no discernible reason, since both perspectives on the pounding and grunting are equally gratuitous. I thought this might be his riff on Warhol’s Chelsea Girls—until I read that Figgis’s digital project for the new millennium, Time Code 2000, quarters the screen. The only imaginable thing more atrocious than one or two versions of Figgis’s Miss Julie is four.

 
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