I remembered I wanted to watch this movie thanks to the Maven of the Eventide (or rather, ze Maven of ze Eventide), who hosts Vampire Reviews YouTube series and gave this particular vampire flick high marks. Also, as I rather enjoyed Paterson, the only Jim Jarmusch movie I’ve previously seen, I was interested to watch more of his stuff. His films are often described as an acquired taste, but based on the two I’ve seen so far, he seems to be my cuppa.
Loosely based on a novel by Virginia Wolf, Orlando chronicles 400 years through the eyes of its gender-bending hero/heroine, played by Tilda Swinton. Born in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, Orlando is a young nobleman who becomes the favourite of the aging monarch, and is commanded to never wither and grow old. The film then moves through the four centuries as Orlando falls in love with a Russian princess, tries different careers including a stint as an ambassador to the Middle East, dabbles in poetry… and changes sex midway, awakening one morning to find herself a woman (Orlando’s calm reaction while observing her new body: Same person. No difference at all… just a different sex.)
I enjoyed I Am Love, the 2009 Luca Guadagnino film starring the inimitable Tilda Swinton, but my big beef with that movie, wonderfully shot as it was, was that it featured zero memorable characters or performances other than Swinton. Not an issue with this movie, a languid, sun-kissed study of increasingly fractured relationships within a quartet of characters hanging around a secluded Italian island.
This dystopian parable had one of the nuttiest premises I’ve seen in a movie. In the not-so-distant future, the entire planet is frozen solid after the attempt to solve the problem of global warming goes spectacularly wrong. All life is wiped out, and what remains of the human race is gathered on a single train, which is powered by an eternal engine and whose rail network spans the entire globe, so it takes the train one year to complete the full circle. The train is the world, and as throughout the human history its population is split into haves and have-nots. The former reside in the front of the train where they spend their days in pampered luxury, while the denizens of the back section live in misery and squalor on a diet of protein bars which look like disgusting black jelly (and yes you do get to find out what they’re made from). At the very front are the quarters of Wilford, the mysterious owner/designer of the train, who is never seen to leave the engine room and who has cronies and armed forces maintaining the order in the back, including some inventive punishments involving cold temperatures. Despite that, the train had seen a few (failed) revolutions and as the movie opens we’re at the start of another attempt, spearheaded by Curtis (Chris Evans), who is something of a reluctant leader.