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26 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

underestimated 'European' Lumet

8/10
Author: (svlankveld@hotmail.com) from rotterdam, the neteherlands
20 October 2002

In my opinion, this film is highly underestimated. This is a very well shot film on beautiful locations. It is as if Antonioni was it's photographer. And another comparison: Stanley Kubrick made 'Eyes wide shut'a few years back (also underestimated, als usual with his films), but 'the Appointment' definitely has the same intensity, mystery and erotic tension as 'Eyes wide shut'. Both films are so quiet and intense, I only wish there were more films like this.

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful

10/10
Author: nickrogers1969 from Sweden
10 May 2007

This is a very underrated film that deserves to be rediscovered. The story does not seem much at first and seems like a simple love story and an excuse to show off two beautiful European film stars in lovely locations.

But the film grows on you when one thinks of how the man ruins both their lives. The scenes in the antiques store with Lotte Lenya are quite sinister. It's chilling when the man and the old woman talk of Mussolini which is the only way to get the old woman to talk of the woman he's looking for.

Sidney Lumet rehearsed with his actors for two weeks before shooting which is why the performances are so good. Omar Sharif and Anouk Aimee are more than pretty faces and give a lot of depth to their characters.

Apparently the film failed to find an audience because Metro had high hopes for it and sent it to the Cannes film festival where it was not well received. One could not then serve europeans an European film made by an American. Lumet had used Fellinis set decorator and Antonionis photographer and as Sharif said "it was not quite Fellini, not quite Antonioni and not quite Lumet".

So Metro panicked recut it without Lumet and did not release it to cinemas. What a shame. It is a little gem worth repeated viewings. It was shown on TV recut with rock music! If only the studio had released it the word of mouth would have been good. It could never have been a hit though, as it is too tragic at he end.

Sidney Lumet, you made a lovely film! You can be proud of it.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A quiet, longing film

8/10
Author: linxoxox from United States
10 April 2006

Drawn into the movie for the sheer enjoyment of watching Sharif - I became immediately swept up in it. Viewers are coaxed gently into the storyline, and it succeeds in drawing you in as you yearn for more. There is a subtle quality of this film that resonates. What is not said with dialog becomes even more important than the actual conversations. We long to know what is behind those eyes, both of theirs - the hurt, the desire, the fear. The film works, in stumbling ways at times, but overall it is memorable, thought provoking and well done. I absolutely loved it, flaws and all. Sharif was well cast, his performance was brilliantly restrained, he held back and became a very believable character. His eyes are so amazing, and so important to see the heart of this character. Aimee is of course lovely, and her Carla is a tortured beautiful soul. I felt both actors were well matched and their seemingly awkward tendencies together made them all the more real. I look forward to watching it again to uncover more of it's intricate layers. Bravo!

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Good or bad...

Author: gaby01575 from United States
5 August 2005

...this movie deserves a DVD release. I saw it on TV(missed the opening credits) years ago and years after its theatrical release. I had to call a friend to find out who this "European" director was. Surprise--Lumet? Still, I found the ambiguities and open-endedness intriguing. Glacial pacing? Bad acting? I've seen worse. Cinematography and narrative arc were unusual for an American director. The beautiful Anouk Aimée is always eminently watchable and for that alone we should be able to watch this again. Anyone out there have the wherewithal to get this out on DVD? I'm sure others would like to give this one another go and reconsider their opinions.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Silent people are mysteries to each other

8/10
Author: halfcolombian from Sweden
4 September 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Federico falls in love with Carla but is not sure wether she is a prostitute or not. And he has got to find out. Beautiful, slow paced movie. A little silly with the salutes in italian and the dialogue in english though but I'll survive that.:) The name of Sidney Lumet in the opening credits made me watch the whole thing. And I didn't regret it at all. I liked it a lot.

****warning spoilers don't read this unless you've seen the movie.****

I thought this was an interesting movie. All the characters in it only give hints of the truth since they are too embarrassed or afraid to say it out loud. The people in it are having difficulties understanding eachother, and so are we trying to understand them. Everything is done in silence which opens up a big mystery. This wouldn't be a movie if the characters in it were more frank and to the point. But since they are shy, proud and embarrassed it becomes interesting. There are a couple of scenes that you can interpret in many different ways. Especially the ending. It's one of the better, most disturbing endings I've seen. It reminded me a whole lot about the ending in "the pledge" with j.nicholson. The ending doesn't kill your curiosity, on the contrary you are even more interested about the truth after the movie has ended than while it is going on. I don't know if the ambiguous ending is deliberate or if it's just poor directing. Anyway it turned out great, wether it was intended to be that way or not. I thought about different interpretations of the ending: 1) Carla was never a prostitute and federico had been wrong all along on suspecting her. The 100,000-lire prostitute was really someone else. 2) Carla was a prostitute but the woman on the phone only told half the truth by saying that she had had an accident but was coming back. She could easily have found another woman afterwards to take carlas place.

Federicos reaction about this phonecall is also hard to interpret: possible cases:

1) he was convinced he had been wrong all the time. 2) he was convinced carla was the girl and he got annoyed when he heard the woman on the phone saying "she still wanted to see him", knowing it was a lie. 3) he didn't care anymore about wether she was the one.

Anyway I had never heard about this movie before I saw it but I really enjoyed its brilliant ending. A big part of me wanted to see a more ordinary ending where u get all the pieces together but that movie would have been forgotten quickly, this one stays longer in your mind.

Another interesting topic of this film is Federicos reason for so desperately searching for the truth. I think he had different reasons, at first he probably just wanted to sleep with her and was simply curious. Later it became an important issue to him since he felt jealous as being her husband. Anyway a great movie.

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Lumet's Othello-like story pales in comparison to his better work

6/10
Author: Jugu Abraham (jugu_abraham@yahoo.co.uk) from Trivandrum, Kerala, India
1 August 2002

Considering the film was made in 1969, the film is interesting in its approach to subjects, camerawork, acting, etc. Lumet being an American was making a European film in style and content. Some of the camerawork along the streets of Rome reminds you of Boorman's "Point Blank" (1967) or Goddard's "Alphaville" (1965). It has a pointless helicopter shot of the lovers in embrace in an open field which six years later was used with great elan by Arthur Penn in another existential story "Night Moves" as the final shot in that movie. The film has no semblance to the typical Hollywood cinema of late sixties; it is closer to European cinema which Boorman was able to capture quite effectively with existential dilemmas presented on screen. Lumet went on to make much more memorable films, one of which was "Equus".

The story of a doubting lover, a jealous husband has been presented on screen several times. It is an Othello story retold. Omar Sharif's lead role appears plausible but he seems to overdo every detail. His cigarette smoking scene was meant to be a picture of nervousness--yet he is rarely seen smoking during the course of the film. Lumet seems to overlook details. Or is he teasing you?

Anouk Aimee is great to watch because she is so good looking not because she acts well--at least she is not convincing in this film. What is her relationship with the young man on the island? Lumet makes us wonder with the meaningful shot of the man's face on the second trip of the couple to the island. We are left guessing about Aimee's true character even after the end. Everything is open ended, except for the Othello-like lead character. Probably this was the reason for the film being nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes. Lumet succeeds in fleshing out the male character, but fumbles with the female lead character. Perhaps it was his intention to leave us guessing.

The film remains a puzzle, a good effort that pales in comparison to Lumet's better works like "Equus", "12 Angry Men" and "the Verdict".

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

a gorgeous -looking, slightly disturbing film about self-deluded husbands' jealous obsession w/ his beautiful abd doomed wife.

7/10
Author: tlortiz-3 from United States
12 April 2006

while clicking around impatiently for something watchable on satellite t.v., i was instantly mesmerized by the wonderful camera work and haunting look of this quiet film. i was further impressed by the way the director , lumet, managed to make Rome, Italy ,look so deserted and depressing, even in the middle of a crowded street. i am not a huge OMar Sharif fan, but he is certainly believable as this cruel, obsessed husband who wants to keep his gorgeous ex-model wife (Anouk Amie) locked away from the world , w/permission to live only in his company. As the doomed beauty , Anouk Aimee is perfect as the almost bland wife that unwillingly is slowly overwhelmed by her controlling husband. A tragic , but unfortunately true portrait of human defects left unchecked. The films' overall feel and look of a haunted mind makes it compelling to watch , and immediately after-wards went to my computer to research the name of the "european' director. i was pleasantly surprised by Mr.Sidney Lumets' name, and film.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

An interesting failure

Author: (rcraig62@comcast.net) from Brick, NJ
13 April 2003

Anyone familiar with Sidney Lumet's best work (Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, etc.) will know of his meticulous attention to character depth and plot detail. The Appointment has none of this. Rather than tell a story, Lumet instead takes his shot at making a stylish Europeanish sort of art film complete with sullen close-ups, high-angle shots and carefully constructed compositions- perhaps just to see if he could do it. Some of it comes off rather well- I liked the longshot of Omar Sharif trudging dutifully away down a hospital corridor while two nuns hurry in the other direction, and a sequence at a fashion show that features a cluster of models dashing in and out in various costume changes and hair styles including one in the flapping and swaying of butterflies is almost worthy of Fellini. Almost. On the other hand, a shot of the two lovers in a field pulled back and upward into the high distance until the couple is drowned out by the island they're on goes on too long and is less effective. I wonder what Lumet is trying to accomplish there by obscuring the lovers and placing the entirety of the island squarely within the picture frame.

There is very little dialogue in the film; everything is inferred and gently disturbing. I think Sharif and Anouk Aimee are fine in their roles, but what is a little off-putting is the coldness and sterility of the affair and their movements, even during passionate scenes. When the tragic moment occured toward the end, I felt nothing. I give Lumet an A for effort and I must admit I was fascinated by the whole thing but fascination doesn't neccessarily equal enjoyment. This movie puts me in mind of Woody Allen's Interiors for all its emotional distance. And as Woody himself once said about Interiors, "it's an interesting failure."

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

"Have you ever been in love?" ... "That's a silly question."

7/10
Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
12 October 2009

Buttoned-up divorce lawyer in Italy, still living part-time with Mom, spies a smoky beauty on the streets just outside of Gucci, cuing composer John Barry to drum up an intensely romantic theme in the background. These two are obviously destined to meet--but she may have an impure past which prevents well-intentioned men from marrying her. Movies such as "The Appointment" are easy targets for critics looking for something to ridicule. By natural law, most conversations between budding lovers are silly, and here (when Omar Sharif explains the mating habits of turtles to an amused Anouk Aimée) you can almost hear the cackling from the balcony. The stars make for a terrifically photogenic couple, and the Italian backgrounds are ravishing, but the central theme of romantic obsession, possessiveness, and destructive jealousy is so intensely drawn that it may elicit giggles from viewers instead of emotion. Omar Sharif gives his standard wet-eyed performance, yet this is an unusually complex man--not a replay of Zhivago--and Sharif captures the nervously boyish tics and overeager longings of the character quite ably. Similarly, the material is an unusual change-of-pace for the director, Sidney Lumet (in uncharacteristically subdued spirits); Lumet pulls off a few audacious moments here, however some of his attributes (such as an elaborate helicopter shot of the lovers in a grassy field) call attention to themselves for no other reason than to be artsy. The slow, steady pacing may turn distracted viewers off, yet this is an oddly beguiling cinematic experience: fantastic, unsentimental actually, and not so removed from the truth. Lumet's heart wants to flutter in the winds, yet he keeps his feet on the ground, resulting in a thoughtful downer. *** from ****

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12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

At Least It's Eye Candy!

Author: Pamela-5 from Los Angeles, California
10 April 2003

While I appreciate the previous person's comments, this is not a great movie. It's a movie about jealousy and possession, and haven't we all seen too many movies about that? (Lifetime channel, anyone?) Watch this movie if, for no other reason, to see Anouk Aimee and Omar Sharif at their most beautiful. O.K., so Anouk's character is rather vapid and insipid. Who CARES? Anouk is a world-class beauty (as she STILL is; see "Festival in Cannes"[2001]) and as feminine as feminine gets. And Omar's EYES in this movie! Wow! You could easily drown in the mysterious dunes of the Sahara just staring at those Egyptian eyes! So, see it for the eye candy. And, no, I'm not ashamed. I like eye candy.

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