Monday, March 30, 2009

Fertile Imagination

Puffball (directed by Nicolas Roeg), available on R2 DVD via Yume Pictures, 120mins.

In Nic Roeg's comeback film Puffball, the seemingly ubiquitous Kelly Reilly plays an ambitious architect who buys a rundown building in a remote Irish valley to transform and renovate. A spot of alfresco rumpty-pumpty later, she falls pregnant, much to the consternation of a neighbouring family who for reasons unknown other than their own belligerence and stupidity feel the unborn child belongs to them. Cue all sorts of nonsense involving dodgy wine, a glowing ball and an impenetrable cameo by Donald Sutherland.

A self-styled 'thriller about love, life, grief and sex', re-uniting director Roeg with star Donald Sutherland, it's not difficult to assume Puffball's backers were hoping for some of the magic of Don't Look Now to rub off on this latest project. While there's enough of Roeg's skills in evidence to just about keep the interest flowing through its' overlong 2hr running time, this latest tale of life, death and architecture, based on a Fay Weldon story, lacks the satisfying structure that made his earlier work such compelling viewing. The result is a vaguely beguiling misfire, mainly of interest to people keen on following the director's career, although to be fair that should include pretty much everybody with a regard for intelligent, handsome cinema.

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