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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Comparison to "Something Wild" shows cultural differences, 15 February 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

**Spoilers at every turn for both films**

There are general differences between American and French approaches to film. These may be seen in a comparison of this film and Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild", which explores similar themes. There are certain plot similarities, such as using high school backgrounds to uncover buried character traits, or the climactic scenes, which are almost identical. The differences, though, show how much different the American and French approaches to film can be.

Theme: Man confronts how a conventional life has stifled his creative potential. American Movie: Corporate executive indulges in kinky sex, drunken road trips, and petty crime with girl. Wants to stay with girl. French Movie: Father and husband locks himself in bathroom to write symbolic literature. Becomes argumentative.

Theme: Man is faced with the dark side of liberation from convention. American Movie: Man has girlfriend abducted and life threatened. French Movie: Man receives suggestion to kill his own family so that he is free to write.

Theme: Man's sexual impulses unleashed when conventional life challenged. American Movie: Car chase and fistfight over sexy rock chick girlfriend with handcuffs in handbag. French Movie: Man calls other man's voluptuous girlfriend a cow, then kisses her, then apologizes.

Theme: Man's uncontained inner nature can be dangerous. American Movie: Rock n Roll outlaw commits crimes and is heartless to girlfriend, who he dominates and controls when she tries to escape. French Movie: Man of leisure eats eggs in the dark after sex and is heartless to girlfriend, who he kills on a whimsy.

Theme: Man can conquer dark side without ignoring creative individuality. American Movie: Man leaves corporate job, gets rock chick, who is really sweet babe with great car. French Movie: Man can write literature with wife's approval. Contentment descends upon family.

So if you like films that explore the psychological conflict caused by the tension between conventional norms and social living vs. self-expression and self-fulfillment, ask yourself whether you like films about a) rock'n'roll, cars, sex with handcuffs, women in captivity, and fistfights; or b) poetry, rustic living, meditative postcoital ritual, dinner conversation, driving on windy countryside highways, and murder. If you feel more strongly about one or the other, this may be a sign that you will appreciate one of these films more than the other.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Literate English eccentric performance a must, 22 February 2001

Robyn Hitchcock is an eccentric, literate, musical survivor. His elliptical lyrics shrink his potential audience, and his success as a musician requires an effective connection between performer and audience. This film steps in to enhance that connection, boosting the effectiveness of Hitchcock's music in exactly the right way.

This is an intimate performance that requires concentrated attention. Where Talking Heads stimulate your brain while activating your dancing shoes, Hitchcock teases, confounds, and animates your brain while stealing your heart. He's also an entertaining acoustic and electric guitarist.

Mr. Demme, may I humbly suggest a Jazz Butcher film next?

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
My wife and I enjoyed it, 16 June 2000

For us, it was a nice movie about relationships: between a mother and her family, between a father and daughter, between a sister and her little brother, between the women in an extended family. It's about family roles, and the role of child rearing in solidifying relationships over time, and thus creating families. It's about sexuality, and how it both drives and conflicts with family structures. It's about seeing the different stages of life within a family all at once.

We liked all of the actors, and enjoyed the use of smoking, religious rituals, and food in unfolding the story. In short, if you're affected by the portrayal of relationships and aren't bothered by the aspects mentioned, you might enjoy it with your significant other, too.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Anti-film film, 18 February 2000

Imagine the gunshop owners from Pulp Fiction who take Willis and Rhames "hostage". Now imagine that they are cosmopolitan Parisians. Imagine that these guys hook up with an indifferent American for a bank heist. The first half is about what sick, perverted, twisted guys with no souls they are. The second half is their pathetic attempt at a big heist which ends up in massive carnage. You get Mr. Indifferent American's point of view. (Drugs? Sure. Abuse someone? Whatever you want. Put you out of your misery? Sure. Screw up my heist? Well, screw you.) That's your movie.

It's as if Avary is saying, so you like graphic violence in a noirish story do you? Well then, here's what the sort of people who could commit such violence would be like; You the audience just want the sex and the riches and the thrills, but in actuality this scene is degrading, repulsive, and unpleasant.

This is a film, then, about the sickness of the viewer. The silent film "Nosferatu" is on the TV during one scene, emblematic of the true horror origins of the sexy Hollywood vampire movie, just as this movie shows the true ugliness behind the "Tarantino" genre. It shoves in your face how repellent and repulsive your interest in this sort of thing really is.

There are some Hollywood Christian values to avoid a downer ending. Be nice to others and they'll be nice to you. Boys who play nice get ahead. Nonetheless, if you just want to know something about Roger Avary, I would recommend checking out his commentary on the Criterion "Hard-Boiled" DVD, because that movie has movie violence that aims to entertain for those who like that genre. However, if you identify with cruelty and harshness (i.e. real violence), then "Killing Zoe" is for you. Others beware.