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A character study and a meditation on art in a time of opulence and syphilis. Gustave Klimt (1862-1918) lies in hospital, dying. In reveries, he recalls the early 1900s: it's fin de siècle Vienna. At the World Exposition in Paris, Klimt meets Georges Méliès, who does a moving picture for him, and Klimt falls under the spell of a woman who may be Lea de Castro. We see Klimt in his studio; we meet his mother and sister, who suffer from mental illness. We watch Klimt the libertine. On his deathbed and as a younger man, he imagines things as well: encounters with ministers and waiters and with women who are willing participants in his pleasures. Is this the source of art? Written by
When Klimt mashes the cake in the man's face, the icing on the man's face is not covering his right eye. In the next close-up shot, there is a large blob of icing covering the man's right eye. In the next long shot when Klimt starts to wipe the man's face, the icing is no longer covering the man's right eye again. See more »
The only thing that kept me in my seat after 20-30 minutes of watching 'Klimt' was that I was too near the middle of the row to leave without making a fuss. However, a quick look around me revealed more dozers, whisperers, shufflers and people with either stupefied or plain bored faces than I have ever seen.
Why? In a few words, this film is pretentiousness trying to play sophistication, clog-footed hamminess trying to play world weariness, gaucheness trying to play 'shocking', quirky 'cleverness' trying to play depth. John Malkovich's role was about as three-dimensional as a flake of peeled varnish. Was Klimt really a dead-eyed deadpan wimp who finished every sentence by showing 'bunny teeth', and who felt the need to overcompensate for being pathetic through occasional bouts of utterly hammy laughable violence (on streets ankle deep in salt) and endless humorless sexual encounters? (Perhaps the only understanding the producer showed of the audience is their profound disinclination to have to witness someone as fundamentally unsexy engaged in such.) Don't expect to get any insights into Klimt past what you could read on Wikipedia. About the only thing that warrants the use of the artist's name as the title is the occasional appearance of gold leaf, egg whites, lips and black lace. Apart from that it may as well be called 'Let's Go Loony with a Bland Old F**kwit'.
The delivery was stilted, the acting was twee, and some of the devices used, e.g. spinning the camera round and round the subject to create a dizzying background vortex, were way too conscious - not to mention simply annoying. There were many scenes where you really felt as if your sensibilities (not in the prudish sense, just as in what passes score and what doesn't) as well as intelligence were being roundly assaulted in a totally crass and meaningless way. Two examples that come to mind are the ranting, dribbling raver and Klimt's ludicrously distressed mother and "Ooh, mom's at it - s'pose I'd better join in too" sister. It was like watching a town hall production by people who don't get out enough.
Shame on everyone involved in this movie. I have never been more disappointed at the cinema. It lacked any humanity; it was wooden and unconvincing. It is pernicious as a credible plea for censorship. I gave it a 2 instead of a 1 because, if nothing else, to a certain extent you have to admire gall.
So do not waste your money on this film ... and whatever you do - DO NOT TAKE A DATE!
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