If there's one film that holds its place on my ever-shifting list of the best films of the last decade, it's Raoul Ruiz's 1999 Time Regained, a brilliantly stylized visualization of the blurred borders between Proust's life, art, and social milieu. Klimt, by contrast, feels like a listless grafting of similar strategiesthe circular swoops and dives of a camera perpetually in motion, the painter's delirious deathbed musings as bookends to the actiononto an artist whose work was dismissed by many in his day as oversexed, and by some today as eye candy. Ruiz sets his rehab of Klimt's ambiguous reputation in the artist's hometown of fin-de-siécle Vienna (bourgeois, philistine) and Paris (rad, liberating), where, as Marx so beautifully put it, "all that is solid melts into air." John Malkovich is his usual wry and slightly ponderous self as Gustav Klimt, whose platonic and carnal relationships with dozens of women (primarily the French dancer Lea de Castro, played by the lovely but lightly talented Saffron Burrows) juiced his peacock-gorgeous canvases. But Ruiz is so intent on harnessing the painter to his own (here, rather arid) relativism that he never manages to convey what brings crowds flocking to exhibitions of Klimt's work, even as the critics hold their noses.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Scott Adkins Plays a Badass Actually Named ‘Colt McReady’ In the Effective ‘Close Range’
- Meet the Pole Who Tried to Warn the World About the Holocaust in ‘Karski & the Lords...
- Jane Fonda Faced Down the Seventies and a Killer in Pakula’s Masterful ‘Klute’
- He’ll Get Your Head Shaking: Surveying the Start of Chung Mong-hong’s (Likely) Great...