Puffball (3 stars)



An adaptation of a Fay Weldon novel by Nicolas Roeg seems to boast all kinds of potential. Yet somehow, even given a strong cast, the piece dissipates both its ideas and narrative tension with ham fisted symbolism and uneven performances.

In it, a young architect (Kelly Reilly) engages in the renovation of a remote Irish rural cottage, but runs foul of two generations of local witches (Miranda Richardson and Rita Tushingham). Various fertility rights follow, with dangerous results. Part of the problem of Puffball is the original material, obsessed as it is with a lot of the hokey earth mother feminism of the novel’s 1980 composition. So too, Reilly’s performance gets increasingly mannered as her pregnancy progresses, until she is, if you will, grate with child. Here and there, there are some flashes of the kind of chilling compositional beauty that one might associate with Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, but generally, it’s too self-conscious for it’s own good. Minimal extras.

(Yume DVD retail)

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