Bad Timing & Insignificance
(18) 117min (Network DVD rental/retail, 3 STARS)
It seems a very long time ago, but there was a moment when a new film by Nicolas Roeg felt like a true cinematic event. Looking back at his canon, some have lasted the test of time better than others (for every Don't Look Now or Walkabout there's a Track 29 or Castaway). The release of two 1980s works are a case in point. As the decade dawned, Bad Timing seemed like a visceral adventure into identity and jealousy with a brittle Art Garfunkel snapping in two as his neuroses are steadily unveiled when his girlfriend (Theresa Russell) is rushed to hospital. Now, it all seems overblown and overwrought.
Insignificance, meanwhile, is as essential and existentially brilliant as it was back in 1985. Russell again appears as Marilyn Monroe, who explains the theory of relativity to Einstein (Michael Emil) while her baseball husband goes bananas and a paranoid US senator (Tony Curtis) tries to get Einstein to spill the beans on his Communist pals. With flights of evocative fancy round every corner, this addictive tale might ultimately come to mean nothing, but it's a blast getting there.