During Dirty War, half-English doctor in Argentina befriends the police, the rebels and the alcoholic Honorary British Consul, whose Latino wife he seduces. When the consul is mistakenly kidnapped by the rebels, he must pick a side.
This was Mike Figgis' first film after the rather wonderful and haunting "Liebestraum" and compared to that it's a disappointment.
As others have commented, Gere's acting is magnificent. I have a good friend who is manic depressive and Gere nails the condition absolutely. As others have also commented, this performance is straightjacketed into a contrived Hollywood vehicle with a laughably pat romantic ending. I was unsurprised to discover that the film was taken away from Figgis by the studio, redited, rescored and partially reshot.
A couple of points: of course Lena Olin's character behaves unprofessionally, that's made quite clear in the movie, so pointing it out as a flaw seems a little wide of the mark. What we in fact have is a slightly more subtle than usual rendition of the "psychiatrist is as nutty as the patient" trope - she is shown earlier in the movie to be extremely vulnerable and perhaps irrational after a failed relationship. Meanwhile Gere is extremely charismatic, as manic personalities can be, she is drawn to him out of her own depressed state and the time-honoured Freudian concept of transference does the rest. In addition the choice she makes addresses the notion introduced by Gere's character in the movie - how much is she prepared to give up?
There are also serious questions about "madness" touched on in the film - where does individual personality end and illness begin? To what extent is insanity a logical response to an intolerable situation? Perhaps these were originally to be explored in a little more depth.
I suppose this "accountant's cut" didn't do well enough at the box office for there to be much chance of a director's cut and that's a shame. It seems there is a much better film somewhere in here screaming to be let out....
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