6.6/10
2,976
24 user 24 critic

Insignificance (1985)

R | | Drama, Comedy | 2 August 1985 (USA)
Four 1950s icons meet in the same hotel room and two of them discover more in common between them than they ever anticipated.

Director:

Nicolas Roeg

Writer:

Terry Johnson (screenplay)
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Emil Michael Emil ... Professor
Theresa Russell ... Actress
Tony Curtis ... Senator
Gary Busey ... The Ballplayer
Will Sampson ... Elevator Attendant
Patrick Kilpatrick ... Driver
Ian O'Connell Ian O'Connell ... Assistant Director
George Holmes George Holmes ... Actor
Richard M. Davidson Richard M. Davidson ... Director of Photography (as Richard Davidson)
Mitchell Greenberg Mitchell Greenberg ... Technician
Raynor Scheine ... Autograph Hunter
Jude Ciccolella ... Gaffer
Lou Hirsch Lou Hirsch ... Charlie
Ray Charleson Ray Charleson ... Bud
Joel Cutrara Joel Cutrara ... Bar Drunk
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Storyline

Four 1950's cultural icons (Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio and Senator Joseph MacCarthy) who conceivably could have met and probably didn't, fictionally do in this modern fable of post-WWII America. Visually intriguing, the film has a fluid progression of flash-backs and flash-forwards centering on the fictional Einstein's current observations, childhood memories and apprehensions for the future. Written by Jeanne Baker <jbaker@erim.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The object of every man's fantasy and the greatest mind of the century are about to meet. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Insignificancia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Nicolas Roeg once said of this film's source stage-play after he first saw it and believed that it "might be a tool to use. An incident came up in my own life and I thought, 'Good God, nobody knows a damn thing about anyone.' That was the premise that started me thinking about the piece again.". See more »

Goofs

The movie takes place in 1954. In one scene, a man is in a bar watching the World Series. The TV announcer for the game starts talking about "Campanella, Hodges, and Berra" being involved in a play. In 1954 those 3 players played for Brooklyn Dodgers and NY Yankees, however the 1954 World Series was between the Cleveland Indians and NY Giants, therefore none of those 3 even played. See more »

Quotes

[to The Professor]
The Ballplayer: Between you and me, let me tell you somethin'. Don't ever put a woman up on a pedestal. Cuz it'll just give her a chance to kick your teeth right down your throat.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Watching the Alien (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Life Goes On
Words by Will Jennings
Music by Stanley Myers
Sung by Theresa Russell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Enjoyment, like space-time, is relative
24 May 2004 | by pwoods1See all my reviews

Nicolas Roeg's projects are variable to say the least, but are never less than interesting. "Insignificance" is obviously, first and foremost, an adapted stageplay: it's wordy and pretty-much 'room-bound'. BUT, it pays to view this film more than once: the underlying themes are not overtly presented and, what's more, it takes a while to adjust to the juxtaposition and role-reversals of the four protagonists: Einstein, McCarthy, Munroe, and DiMaggio.

Einstein is wracked by guilt over Hiroshima yet fancies the simplicity of a sexual liaison with Munro; Munro is sick of being seen as a bimbo and craves intellectual credence; Senator McCarthy is at the height of his witch-hunting powers but is an impotent sleazebag; DiMaggio is insecure about his celebrity, self-obsessed, and prone to violence. Each of them contains the seeds of their own destruction. Each character has a troubled, abused/abusive past and a questionable future. Gradually, we see that obsession itself is the central theme. America's obsession with its postwar cultural icons and mores; the obsessions of the protagonists for something none can have: peace-of-mind and/or happiness.

Compared with the theory of relativity, a proposed unified-field theory and, indeed, the cosmos itself, all the aspirations and interactions of Roeg's protagonists seem insignificant. Yet these aspects of the physical universe (it's all quantum, trust me!) affect us when they are applied to the development of the means to destroy us. Monroe's mention of the principle behind the neutron-bomb (without naming it as such) is not an anachronism per se, but can only be understood by a contemporary audience. Indeed, ALL the references within the script are only accessible to a knowledgeable viewer: one au fait with '50s occurrences/personality cults and how they affect us in the 21st century.

This film and its screenplay are either very, very clever, or extremely opaque and pretentious. Ultimately, however, probably insignificant.

live long and prosper :)


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